Organization for the Writer’s Mind (and Desk)

GetittogetherOne of my writing buddies organized the “Get It Together” blog hop, which is five, count ’em, five days of authors talking about how they organize their lives, their books, their writing spaces…everything. I think there are about 30 participating authors, and most of them have put things into the huge, massive giveaway of books, gift cards and organizational goodies that you can enter on any of the blog hop posts. My own post is today on my blog, so you can enter there if you like, and get a peek into the crazy world that is my planner obsession!

Zentangle for the Writer’s Mind

Since my writing is a time machine post, my deadlines loom, gigantic and hot-breathed. What needs accomplishing matters to me. However, it’s the kind of stuff that doesn’t benefit, in my case, from a frantic mind. Being wound up about it only hitches me in the doing, then slows me down later by needing more revisions or corrections. But only a day ago, I was reading something very engaging, and when I looked up, I was shocked to see how few minutes had passed. I’d gotten so much out of it, I’d have sworn it took longer. As I’m reminded Einstein famously said: When you are courting a nice girl, an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder, a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.

Be a Helping Hand Zentangle, orginally from mariannesmusings-ut.blogspot.ca

Be a Helping Hand Zentangle, orginally from mariannesmusings-ut.blogspot.ca

So, when I started feeling that creeping sense of time-as-panic, I consciously stopped myself to unwind and re-focus. Perverse, maybe? But for me effective. If you’re not familiar with zentangles, the most basic idea is combining patterns of lines and fills within larger shapes. To the left is one easy idea to start: trace your hand and fill it in. See how the repetitive, but not-too-impossible to draw patterns create lots of interest together. Gaze at loads more zentangles on Pinterest if you want to be wowed by the diverse and gorgeous ways people are using them in crafts and artwork. Zentangles can range from beautifully spare and simple to profusely complex and textural, but they’re easy to jump into, and can be a nice mental break from whatever. Because I specifically was looking for release from that feeling of not having enough time–the tick-tock that leaves me jittery, counting seconds rather than working productively–I decided to give mine some personal symbolism.

A Zentangle I drew to stop my self-inflicted, quality-killing time pressure and to re-focus on having a peaceful, productive mind.

A Zentangle I drew to stop my self-inflicted, quality-killing time pressure and to re-focus on having a peaceful, productive mind.

They go faster than you think, and this one’s just in my little moleskine, so it’s only 5 inches square anyway, but if you look closely at the sections at 11 and 5 o’clock, you’ll see more of the stuff I was purging.

Below the C of Peace, I wrote NOW, NOW, NOW until it turned into jagged lines and a circle that didn’t mean anything scary anymore.

Below the C of Peace, I wrote NOW, NOW, NOW until it turned into jagged lines and a circle that didn’t mean anything scary anymore.

The ribbon trailing down from 11 o’clock swirls with so many tiny “go”s that I got tired of cracking the whip on myself.

The ribbon trailing down from 11 o’clock swirls with so many tiny “go”s that I got tired of cracking the whip on myself.

For the writer, eventually everything has to happen on the page. If it doesn’t get there, it doesn’t matter. But the time spent not writing, not even thinking (taking a walk, washing the dishes, etc.) can be critical to the final product, too. The next time you need to concentrate rather than dithering, or have been plowing the same barren field of thoughts, think about taking a break for a quick, brain-cleansing zentangle!