Writing: Bring on the Post-Its
A relative of mine used to say, "I can sleep when I'm dead." I think he wanted the rest of us to know how productive he was. So annoying! 

I'd like to sleep now, please and thanks. NOT being able to sleep is torture. When I was not working for six weeks, and told I needed to rest and recover from a big cancer surgery, my brain would hurt as I ticked off the minutes and watched the too-bright moon outside the window, assuming that all of San Francisco was blissfully asleep as I tossed and turned. 

Writing Life tip: I get some of my best writing ideas when I am trying to sleep at night. Having Post-Its and a small notebook in a drawer by my bed, with ample pens that actually work (versus old crusty ones cadged from a long-ago travel assignment) are useful tools for capturing these ideas -- it probably helps me rest easier when I've cleared the idea decks, too. Often, an idea makes its way into an essay or piece. Which makes me wonder how many ideas I may have lost before setting up this basic but critical routine.

I shared the above writing tip this month in the Grotto’s monthly newsletter. (The Grotto is a work space and community for writers. SF-based.) At first read, it may sound like something that brings efficiency and organization to a daily (nightly?) routine. While it does help for work flow, I appreciate how it gets ideas out of the brain, which has a calming effect that slows me down, so that I can eventually drift off to sleep. I need help with my rapid fire worries and thoughts at night probably 75% of the time, because I still am learning how to picture thoughts as leaves that are flowing down a beautiful NorCal stream. 

Can you tell I’ve taken up meditation, and adore listening to mellow music and guided meditations on Insight Timer? Other folks like Headspace, sure, whatever works! 

(Does brilliance really happen in calm minds?)

I am not a calm person. Never have been! But I like to look for ways to lower my stress (maybe I am keeping women-centric publications in business), which does help bring slivers of calm to brain and body. All that hopefully helps with the overall health outlook and outcomes. 

When I was DESPERATE to calm my hamster wheel brain, it was because my mom was seriously ill and in a series of depressing hospitals and care homes. It's easier to meditate if the narrator coincidentally has a calm voice -- bonus if he or she is from the UK! (I love me some accents, which does get us into fantasy territory but I digress!). Meditation (via British folks talking in such soothing tones) finally “clicked” as something for me to do almost daily, and I am glad to use it in the mornings.

But at night, I do want to capture my many ideas-as-leaves into written form, versus letting them float away!

Turn on the light. 

Write onto the Post-It or paper. The scratch of my pen is a signal to my brain that I am working it out. Feeling a tiny chunk of tension go outta that middle point between the shoulders is a fab sign.

Put it all back into a drawer. 

Ideas = work = money in the bank = paid bills. Yeah!! 

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