Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Guest author Genella deGrey: What I did on my summer vacation

Last August, I boldly went where I hadn't gone before:  To Hawaii. In the weeks leading up to my trip, I knew I was up for a feast of the senses, which of course was the most exciting part. The least exciting part was that I knew I was going to be alone. Now don’t get me wrong, I'm not a scaredy-cat, I can drive great distances alone, go to downtown LA by myself, I can even navigate my way through Hollywood at night to go clubbing... I just wanted to have someone to share it all with, ya know? I can’t help it; I judge the monumental experiences of my life by how romantic they were. I totally understand that this could be considered a personality flaw to which I would shrug my shoulders and utter, “Deal with it, if ye be a man.” ;)

Now, the universe doesn’t always give us what we want, but it’s really good at giving us what we need . . . and someday it will become clear to me why I spent four glorious days in my own company. *eye roll*

Anyway, today I’d like to explore a couple of non-romantic reasons to “vacate” - especially geared toward writers - the position we normally stay in for long periods of time.

So, why step away from work/the computer?
Well, one reason could be to encounter views like these:

Now, that’s not to say that you NEED to head to an exotic locale where the landscape alone causes your spine to turn to jelly. Even a trip to a local park can be a refreshing break.

Go ahead, try some alone time. Don’t get me wrong, I love my 7 year-old as if he were my right arm, but sometimes I need my “me” time. And even though it seems I crave romance at every turn, there are times I need to get away from it all (keeping in mind that I live in a city with about eight million other people.)

Even when I was a little kid, I used to climb up onto the back wall, sit and stare at the sky and just ... think. In my high school years I would climb up the fire escape of our condo to the roof and do the same. Was I taking a breather, did I need the quiet time or my own personal space? Whatever the reason, this alone time served to sooth my soul.

These days as an adult, sunset is my favorite time of day. There is something inherently calming to me about a beautiful sky on the verge of night. Here are a few pix I took in Hawaii as evening fell:

Ah, just looking at those shots makes me feel a chill.

A change of routine for writers in and of itself once in a while can turn into an essay of sorts – certainly something you can tuck away to use at another date.  This sort of exercise is essential for those of us who create sometimes entire worlds out of nothing. We need new or different sights, smells and various other uncommon-to-us stimuli so that our writing doesn’t become stale or over-used. Try this: take a blanket, a snack and just chill for an hour or two. You will be surprised at the sundry new perceptions you pick up on. Just be sure to escape with the intention of bringing something new to your awareness. Whether you head to the park or sit in the middle of a shopping mall or even the local coffee shop, take a note book or journal and jot down what you are feeling, seeing, smelling, etc. Then do it with your eyes closed and things will shift a bit, making you more aware – you may even find something you didn’t when your eyes were open. You might be inspired with a new story line or character, but whatever the case, I guarantee you will find a place in one of your WIPs to place bits of this particular sensory exercise.

Venture out, do something different, surround yourself with things and people under normal circumstances unknown to yourself – and don’t forget to take notes. You might find something in the process that will surprise you. You might even find  . . . YOU!

Remember when attempting this exercise – no, you don’t have to check with your doctor – LOL, but where ever you go, whatever you do, even if it’s to gain a sense of clarity, do it with a specific intention in mind. This will put you into the mind-set of achieving that which you wish to accomplish.

Happy reading, happy writing and happy holidays everyone!
Genella deGrey's website 
Her Facebook fan page


Charles Gramlich said...

Lana is especially fond of sunsets. She does a lot of photos of them. These pics are wonderful. Thanks for sharing them.

Genella deGrey said...

Glad you enjoyed the pics, Charles!

Lynn Emery said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lynn Emery said...

Deleted my typos.

What I meant to say was your pictures are breath taking! I need to get out more and follow your example. Thanks for the great post.

Genella deGrey said...

Thanks Lynn!
Yes, do! You'll love it.

Liane Spicer said...

Genella, welcome back! Lovely photos and great advice which I'm about to take. Counting down the next two weeks... :)

Genella deGrey said...

Thank you, Liane, for everything :) We want to hear all about it, so keep us in the loop! :)

Nicole Morgan said...

Loved your post, but my favorite part: We don't always get what we want, but we get what we need.

LOVE THAT! And so very true! Thank you for sharing the photos, they are beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Right, Nicole?
Thanks for stoppin' by!

PS - Posting as Anonymous because it's not letting me into my Google thingy. Yes, I'm so technical . . .

Maggi Sherwin said...

Hi Genella,
When I was a child I used to sit on the back doorstep, look up at the stars and wish I was an astronaut so that I could see the Earth from the sky, but the view from the Earth is even better! - What fabulous photos.

And that Google thingy - try clicking the Compatibility button on the blogger taskbar...

Anonymous said...

Cool, Maggi! :)

I clicked something that I thought might be what you are talking about . . . :/ . . . I must have not clicked the right thing. Ah, well.