Teacher to Teacher: What You Do Away from Your Desk
By Lynne R. Dorfman
A writer spends a lot of time at her desk, or in my case, her kitchen table. Staring at the screen or at a page of notes, drumming the keys of a laptop or i-pad. There are deadlines to meet. All writers have deadlines. Some of these are personal goals, and others are set by editors. Either way, writers write with a deadline in mind.
Equally important is the time that writers spend away from their desks. Writers need to spend time with their loved ones – children, grandchildren, spouses, and pets, visit friends and new places, eat out at a new restaurant, take in a movie or drive to NYC for an opera performance. Make the trip to the seashore to take a long walk on the beach and hear the ocean’s song, listen to music, plan parties, walk through their neighborhood to notice the signs of spring. The list is endless.
The point is, do stuff. The twenty hours you spend away from your computer are important. Take a summer writing course with PAWLP, go to a writers’ conference with SCBWI, take a workshop or unworkshop at Highlights Foundation in the Poconos. Join a local reading council or retired writers’ group.What about that painting or yoga class you’ve always wanted to take? Sign up for it today!
Rebacca Kai Dotlich wrote a delightful story, Bella and Bean, about two friends who approach life differently (they are mice). Bella wants to write poems and Bean wants to go for a walk. Bella wants to write poems and Bean wants Bella to look at her cute toes. Bean tries to coax Bella away from her notepad, and when Bean succeeds, Bella’s poetry begins to take unexpected twists. Bella learns that to write wonderful poems, she needs to experience the world in new and different ways. Bella needs to do stuff!
Get up. Make a plan. Take charge. Do stuff. The time you spend writing at your desk will be more productive because of all the inspiration you’ve gathered when you are not at your desk, experiencing life firsthand.
Lynne Dorfman is a co-director of PAWLP and is part of the PAWLP blog team. She loves taking long strolls through Longwood Gardens and walks in her neighborhood with her three Welsh Corgis – Merri, Rhonda, and Arthur. She looks forward to the Continuity Saturdays with PAWLP that will begin again in the fall. Summer vacations include a few weeks in Surf City on Long Beach Island and a trip to Maine for a stay at Kawanhee Inn at Webb Lake near her sister’s and brother-in-law’s rustic cabin. She hopes to climb some waterfalls while she’s there.
Thanks, Lynne. We all need to keep this in mind, and this is a great time of year to think about new options, and revisiting old favorites. I’m going to look for Bella and Bean!
Thank you for such an important reminder. Striving for balance — life at the desk and away from the desk, equally important, with one informing the other.
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