I’m Being Robbed

As a writer I have noticed something that concerns me. It is the affect social media is having on my limited, daily amount of creativity. All the interactions with others–their thoughts, their photos, their humorous GIFS, etc…are robbing me of my ability to write well and often.

So what do I do?

The answer is obvious, but it goes against the flow of our culture. To not be engaged on social media feels like I’m on a deserted island while everyone I know is across on another island having a party. I have never liked to miss the fun, and this is proving that to be true.

But I still have writing goals and desires.

Anything worth doing is worth doing well. If social media is taking a toll on my worthwhile goals then I must rein in my freedom in this area.

I thought being home so much would have increased my writing. But I was wrong. The only thing it increased was time playing my favorite games (Words with Friends and Design Home). I know this because I have a screen time monitor that lets me know how much time I’ve spent each week on my screens.

It all comes down to discipline and making wise choices. I also need to set goals and limits on time wasted. We all need down time. But when down times begins to rob productive time, it’s time to make needed changes. This will benefit me and hopefully those who will read what I write.

My Smart Phone has a feature under screen time that allows me to limit the amount of time I use certain apps each day. I am going to start something I’ve never done before. Hold my screen time accountable.

How is screen time robbing you of creative energy?

“Take imagination breaks…Relaxed attention is one of the most important states of mind for creativity, and sometimes it has to be learned.” – Nita Leland

The Day I Ordered My Coffee Black, A Short Story

Coffee Meme.jpg

I am a part of a writer’s group that has been together for the past 15 years. Every Wednesday we are given a writing prompt to help us keep our creative inspiration flowing. Today’s prompt was one that immediately got my mind thinking…

Writer’s Prompt: The girl at Starbucks who always gets a caramel macchiato orders black coffee today.

A man of quiet strength, he had been the one who kept Jo grounded when her world seemed to be spinning out of control. Her Dad was confident in her ability as a writer. This infused her with determination to meet his expectations. Even as the rejection letters mounted, it didn’t sway his belief that her voice was something special. Yet, on this day of all days, Jo was struggling to remember the sound of his voice, and it left her fraught with anxiety. What daughter forgets her Dad’s voice after only three years? If his voice faded so fast, would she forget her voice too? What if she never knew her voice? Was it all a facade visible only by her Dad’s faith in who she could be?

Tormented that his death would cause a similar death to her future, Jo decided she needed to get outside. She was hopeful the fresh air would stimulate her thoughts.

Fall was living up to its name as crisp, colorful leaves descended in cadence to the sidewalk below. Jo gathered her jacket around her neck to ward off the chill. Instinctively, she walked to the corner for her morning pick-me-up. As she waited in line she remembered the countless times she and her Dad had met here to go over her latest plot. He would smile as she read, not so much because he loved the story, but because he loved its author. A tear started to fall, which she caught with her sleeve before it had a chance to show itself to a watching world.

She discovered why she was struggling this Father’s Day. It was the reality that no one was watching her, and no one cared for her as he had. She shifted in line reading the food offered on the rack where she stood, hoping to forget. Jo realized her anxiety had followed her, and it was impossible to run fast enough to get away.

She let out a sigh when the barista asked, “What can I get for you today? Your usual?”

She recalled the countless times her Dad had answered this question. In his gentle, reserved manner she could hear him say, “I’ll have a tall, coffee. Make it black, please.”

Her memory exploded alive along with her Dad’s voice.

“No Caramel Macchiato for me today.” Jo thought to herself.

It was Father’s Day and this one was for Dad. Along with his voice came fresh inspiration. The title of what she would write next, “The Day I Ordered My Coffee Black”.