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Time to Write

The clear sunny morning promises heat this afternoon. Rolled out to check the gardens and think how many things I’d like to be doing outside.

Writing awaits, and I want to finish some work before I play. I did pick thyme, sage, and rosemary for tonight’s as yet unknown dinner. Lentil soup perhaps. I think of Virginia Woolf’s diary: “One acquires a certain power over sausages and haddock in writing their names.”

Curious relationship between writing and planning dinner (or the future). Time and thyme.

I like the rhythm of writing and cooking, writing and sorting papers, writing and soaking up the fresh breeze, writing and living. I think of my “inner critic” at work in the kitchen while I’m at the computer. After I’m finished, she can come back to edit, and I’ll go to the kitchen or the clover.

A simple kitchen timer has helped me balance my work and playing life. When I have deadlines and stacks of work to be done, I set the timer for 40 minutes (more or less). The ticking helps me focus, tells my brain it’s time to think. Recent research suggests that the brain works better with regular refreshment.

When the buzzer rings, I stop where I am and play for 20 minutes (or more). It’s like recess at elementary school. Those sacred minutes remind me of all the wonderful people, things, and animals in my life and how much I enjoy them.

Play might consist of a snack, sorting books, jotting down ideas or journaling with color, simply sitting on the deck, pulling a few weeds, or simply closing my eyes for a nap-ette.

Then back to work refreshed, and not feeling that I’m chained to the computer. I can work long hours that way, if need be. And the kitchen timer has taught me another trick:

If there’s an overwhelming task or something I’m dreading, I set the timer for five or ten minutes. Most of us can do almost anything for just a few minutes. At the sound of the buzzer, I’m liberated, but the amazing thing is that often I don’t want to stop, so I’m able to accomplish much more than I had planned.

I thought I would pass along these tips as I’m getting ready to send out a little tips newsletter called “New Life Story Seeds.” If you’ve already suscribed, you’ll be getting them soon. If you’re not, you can sign up in the upper right-hand corner on the blog.

Wishing you all the time and thyme you’d like to savor in your life.


1 Dora { 07.10.08 at 1:16 am }

I’ve used the kitchen timer idea myself and find it a useful tool. When I was doing my master’s degree online, I found it necessary to set the timer to remind myself to get up, stretch, take care of basic needs and return to my task refreshed. It also works with household tasks that I find myself avoiding. I find I can stand to do anything for 15 minutes and usually once I’m started, I will finish but there are times that I just hang it up after I complete the “mandatory” 15. At least the house is 15 minutes cleaner than it would have been.

I’m enjoying your blog, Ellen. I like it’s clean look too.

2 Dora { 07.10.08 at 1:21 am }

That should be “its” clean look. I need to proof read before I submit since I cannot edit. Sorry about that.

3 Ellen Moore { 07.14.08 at 3:28 pm }

Isn’t it amazing what a timer can help you accomplish? It’s a great motivator, and it helps me be aware of the passing of time so I don’t let a day slip by without being aware or without recording something about it.

Ellen Moores last blog post..Reading Near the Garden

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