One of the first thing kids want to know when they find out I write books for children and teens is where I get my ideas. If it’s a particular story I have not been assigned, and I don’t have structural restrictions that way, I find the stories the same way I try to live my life. I use my intuition. I like to call it The Flow.
When I tell a story, I want to tell a story that is authentic on a deeper plane. I want to tell a story that comes to me and through me, not one which I force into a container mandated by market trends. I smile when multiple people say, “You wrote that for me, didn’t you?” because I feel then I have tapped into the collective consciousness. I have told the story that needed to be told in that moment.
But what does that look like? It’s not something that can be done with an analytical mind. For me, it’s about staying in The Flow. We are all programmed to do this, but often we keep ourselves too busy, riddled by our monkey minds. Luckily, there’s a secret tool. A key part of getting there–and staying there– is something I do every day before I write: meditation.
In my pre-writing meditation, the focus is on allowing. After a period of just being and following the breath, I invite the story that wants to be told to come forward. I ask that the timing of that story be made clear to me from the ultimate Storywriter. I open up and allow, setting my look-at my-fancy-metaphor ego in the closet–and wait. It is not about drawing attention to myself with my literary bling, but rather about opening up as a conduit for a bigger story that wants to be told.
What happens next is I can barely keep up. The words waterfall off my hand and onto the page just as they are at this very moment. (I first wrote this entry longhand in my journal. The words flowed so fast my hand fell asleep and I kept having to shake it.) If I’m not standing in The Flow — indeed living and breathing there — the words disappear like a dream upon awakening.
But by staying in The Flow, we remember what we need to remember. We make space for the moment, in both writing and life. In fact, often by the end of a blog entry, or a novel, I am surprised to find where it leads and opens up. It’s almost always better than my logical mind could have devised. Take this entry for example. I thought I was going to write about anxiety because I had this really fascinating input from the world around me this week on that subject. However, this story flowed very different than that. That means the thoughts on anxiety want to come at a different time and I’m totally good with that.
In life, I start each day with an outline on a yellow sticky sheet. It’s prioritized the night before, a habit I developed after attending a business management conference while working at law firms and juggling marketing activities for hundreds of lawyers. It helps me get stuff done and not procrastinate. However, what I’ve learned to do now is allow for The Flow each morning and recognize that may modify my note because there might be something that trumps it all. I will know when I listen. If I don’t check in, the day is never as much fun.
I feel grateful and joyous when I’m living in The Flow. Synchronicities abound and such fun stuff happens. The Flow is always there when I sit quietly and go to it, letting my thoughts pass…saying hello but not clinging to them and allowing what is to be. Answers become clear. Inspirations abound. I connect with the collective.
That’s my happy place. The best part is it reaches beyond me to you and shows how we are all connected to each other.
I do so love being connected with you.
Jamie – this was such a wonderful reminder that I need to slow down, breathe, and tune in to my own flow. I’m so not effective in my personal OR my professional life when I don’t allow for this. I’ve had a couple of recent experiences that are testament to that. I’ll be reaching out to you for some additional guidance — time to tune in and go with the flow!! Yolie
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Here with open arms, Yols!! So true for all of us.❤️