Thursday, August 30, 2012

Accepting Writing Ideas

by Candyce Carden-Deal

Writers make connections between unrelated things all the time. If we stay at it long enough, writing weaves its way into everything we do. It becomes a natural process. And if we stay open to these connections they can often affect our writing life.  Here’s an example. During yoga class last week, my brain leaped to writing although I was doing a decent job of focusing on deep-breathing.
We were in Easy Pose. In Easy Pose the legs are crossed with hands resting on the knees, palms turned upward. The open palms symbolize a posture of acceptance, or openness to accepting whatever comes our way. It's a great way to begin or end a yoga practice.

As I sat in Easy Pose ignoring the pain in my groin, I thought about the many writing and marketing ideas that flit through my brain on any given day. And how many I reject because they don’t come at convenient times. I usually continue to the next errand or the next email and hope that I’ll recall the idea when needed. And if I don’t, well, it probably wasn’t such a hot idea anyway. But what if, I asked myself, my half-formed unaccepted idea became someone else’s article sale because they acted on it? I peered at my open hands and wondered if I could apply this same symbolism of acceptance to the harvesting of writing ideas.

I could hardly wait to get off the floor. Once at home, and using Easy Pose as a springboard, I placed an opened blank journal on my kitchen counter with colored pens nearby. It’s in a location I pass many times during the day when I'm home. After just a little while, that opened blank page started calling to me like a magnet, saying, “Fill me.” And so I do. No matter how small or hare-brained the thought seems, I capture it in my waiting journal. What’s more, as I've grown in the habit of jotting down those ideas, I'm finding that harvesting ideas begets even more ideas.

I like my journal with its unlined pages. A sketchpad might be my next option. Both seem to scream for colored markers – another plus for this artist-wanna-be. But a legal pad would work just as well. So would a composition book. If you keep it small enough so it’s easily portable, you can always have it with you. And have it open.

I begin each workday by reading through my idea journal and transferring anything that I intend to work on to my daily plan sheet. My open book is a combination of both writing and marketing ideas. Some of the ideas don’t fit into plans right away, of course.  In this case, I tear the page out and throw it in a bin or file folder so it’s there ready for harvesting, sooner or later. It may never come to full fruition, but I feel good that I at least accepted it and gave it due diligence. 

A former educator and administrator, Candyce Carden-Deal is now pursuing the writing life full-time, which she blogs about at



  1. I have a bad tendency of abandoning journals. For example, I left my Moleskine at home.

    Maybe I should make a habit out of it.

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