Friday, February 19, 2010

Things that make you stop and go

by Maggie Toussaint

Do you remember the kid's game called RED LIGHT? One person is IT and he/she stands some distance away from a pack of children. IT turns his/her back to the pack, counts to 10 aloud and says the word "red light". At this, everyone must freeze. If IT catches you moving, you become IT. (Of course, the goal is to tag IT)

Life and writing are a series of stops and gos, and all of these interruptions and stolen moments come at a moment's notice and often without invitation. So how is a person to feel they are making any sort of progress?

I further categorized my thoughts on this into things that shut down or nourish your body, mind, and soul. Here are mybreakouts:
Body stops: illness, too much to do, too little to do, visiting relatives, hunger
Body gos: good nutrition, exercise, anticipation, family, comfortable shoes, music

Mind stops: scary movies, frigid cold, illness, information overload, heavy fragrances
Mind gos: yoga, brain teasers, relaxing music, games, game shows, lively discussion with friends

Soul stops: people who are rude or mean, having to be around people who don't respect me, too much time in a hospital, excessive fluorescent lights, repetitive dullness in the environment
Soul gos: singing, being outdoors, being creative, meditating, worshiping

Interestingly, I found that music makes me feel better in every aspect and that negativity was draining on every level. I'm not sure one can draw a relevant conclusion from a sample set of one, but it seems to me that knowing your stops and gos can help you understand your highs and lows. It can also give you an idea of how to recharge quicker when life throws curve balls at you.

Using the actions of the kid's game of Red Light, I also had the thought that turning around 180 degrees in both perceptions and perspective can be the difference between stopping and going.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on stops and gos.

Maggie Toussaint
mystery and romance author
ON THE NICKEL and MUDDY WATERS under contract


Liana Laverentz said...

I'm going to try that turning around 180 degrees idea. Sounds like a winner!

Diane Craver said...

A stop for me in my writing life is rejection. I received a rejection last week from Carina Press, so didn't write for a few days on my new story. But I am again now.

A go for me is taking stock and counting my blessings and focusing on the positive. Then I'm in the fast lane again. LOL

Unknown said...

MAGGIE--a Stop for me is a list of things to do in front of my face. I cannot write--something I consider important but not a "must do." How crazy is that? On the other hand, I may be using that list to keep me away from writing because my brain is not being very creative these days.
Maybe the list thing goes way back, when I--and probably all mothers--could not do anything for myself until I had completed all my daily domestic tasks. --Celia

Sherry Gloag said...

An interesting concept, and if it works for you go with it :-)
We tend to forget that our body is a living entity. It may not have an audible voice, but if you just take time out to 'listen' to it, you often find you give yourself 'permission to do thing you would otherwise disregard of feel guilty about.
I have recently discovered that while I can procrastinate for britain, when it comes to official 'deadlines' and expectations I am up there with the best of them. So now, when I catch myself procrastinating I don't beat myself up about it so much as I used to do :-0)
I enjoyed your post.

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