Weeding is the flossing of gardening. It’s essential, but it only encourages them. Elizabeth and I visited our friends, Denny and Diana, in Vacaville for the Easter weekend. We dyed five dozen Easter eggs and spent time with them and their kids and grand kids.
We also ate too much. We went to Murillo’s, an excellent Mexican restaurant, off Highway 80 across from the outlet mall. Diana makes a killer chocolate cheesecake with a recipe created by Elizabeth’s mother Rita. Denny and I crushed the Oreo Cookies, with filling, for the crust. (Baking tip: the 100-calorie package of Oreos doesn’t have the filling.)
I pruned calla lilies and pulled weeds in Denny and Diana’s beautiful garden, immersive jobs that, like writing, are flow experiences that make me forget about anything else by forcing me to concentrate on doing the best job I can. Like editing, weeding is also purgative: taking away what doesn’t add to the effect you wish to create.
Just as silence helps gives music its value, having time away from the laptop makes me appreciate that not writing is as important as writing. Time away gives you the chance to
- Come up with ideas for your work
- Let your subconscious help you solve writing problems
- Give yourself time away from your work so you can return to it with fresh eyes
- Let yourself be stimulated by new surroundings, people, and ideas
- Try new things
- Meet challenges presented by what you’re doing
Even if you don’t have the luxury of leaving town, visiting other parts of where you live will give you time away from work, especially if you have the strength not to peek at your smart phone. San Francisco is a city of inviting neighborhoods, each with its own character. Since the city’s independent bookstores have miraculously survived the chains, many neighborhoods have an indies worth visiting.
Progress didn’t stop in my absence. There was a story in the Vacaville Reporter about Google’s chic glasses that will be a tablet you wear. I returned to find a story in the San Francisco Chronicle about a flying car that can land at 5,000 airports, and the online prediction that in five years, Barnes & Noble, like Radio Shack and Best Buy, will be gone.
Just another weekend on the accelerating path to an unknowable but limitless future that gives you ever more to write about. Meanwhile, doing anything you love will help your writing. Variety will spice up your work. Taking time to develop all of your potential as a human being will make you a better writer.
The goal of the blog is to help you and me understand writing and publishing. Rants, comments, questions, and answers most appreciated.
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