Not long after Larry and I married, I taught the two year olds in Sunday School. One of our most favorite activities — especially when tears came out — was pulling out the bubbles. The kids would run around the room, trying their best to catch the translucent spheres. High-pitched squeals of delight replaced the tears as, for a moment, the kids forgot that they missed Mom and Dad or that someone took their toy. The bubbles had almost a perfect record of flipping the switch from upset — what we adults might call stress — to out-and-out play.
This morning, my mind could use a good dose of bubbles.
One of the hardest things — for me — about writing is allowing my mind the ability to play, to wander, to explore. I am here with the draft of my book beside me trying desperately to rework the beginning chapter. But that’s the problem. My mind is trying desperately, and so it’s not working.
It’s pulling up points like the deadline of the writer’s conference looming in JUST TWO WEEKS.
It’s reminding me of the importance of getting the words right.
It’s telling me that I’d better hurry because we’ve got to go to the gym and then the grocery store and then later the hospital. It’s reminding me of how quickly the hours are passing and that, all too soon, it’ll be time to go back to work on Monday. And then there’s a whole new list of things for my mind to remind me of — projects I need to complete, emails to return, news releases to send out.
I. Need. My. Brain. To. Chill.
Creativity is stifled by that kind of stress. There’s a great quote from Albert Einstein that says, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.”
It’s about chasing bubbles, not prioritizing to-do lists, not feeding stress.