By Londa Hayden
I love rainy days. They allow time for me to think. Life seems to stop for a moment and a hush comes over the world, reminding me to slow down and take a breath. Good days for writing too, especially if the internet goes down. I can still type. Yes! No temptation to interrupt my flow of thought. Unplugging is a good thing. Life can get so busy with all the things in life that pull at us. Family, kids, dogs, cats, neighbors, friends, and all the obligations that come along with it make us feel we should stay plugged in or we might miss something.
I recall the days we didn’t have cell phones. How did we survive without them? I can honestly say, just fine. Okay, I don’t think I’m that old. It wasn’t all that long ago when we lived in a world without all this technology to distract us. In fact, when my husband and I moved to West Virginia, it took the telephone company over two weeks to install our phone line. I had a toddler to care for while my husband worked 12 hour shifts during a strike. How did I survive? They had these things called payphones—quarters—lots of quarters.
I have a friend who ditches everything and hides out in an old shack when she has a deadline to meet. She leaves her family and the world behind for a few days. There is electricity to power her computer, a fan, or window air conditioner if it’s hot or space heater when cold. The phone is turned off except for a designated time to reassure family she’s alright or for emergencies: rats, a bear, or other infestations. Interesting set up. Kind of like in the movie “War Room” when the main character cleans out a closet and sets it up as a prayer room. Completely clear except for a place to sit, a Bible, journal and pen. Photos of loved ones and friends are taped to the wall with handwritten prayers beside them. That room is designated for one thing only for a specific time.
My favorite place to write is at the beach. Breathing fresh sea air and listening to the ocean waves outside take me to another place and time in my mind. I’m able to concentrate and focus. Another favorite place is in the forest surrounded by trees and birds with a nearby river or creek. The sounds of nature inspire me. Some may find busy places like Starbucks, or other public spaces have more to offer. The noise doesn’t bother them. They write best in the middle of crowded malls or bus stations. Not allowing other distractions to interrupt you is the key and can be an issue for many of us. I can’t go to a Starbucks without checking my phone, Facebook, and Twitter. Not to mention those Pinterest photo pop-ups with great recipes. Oh, good dinner idea. Before I realize it, instead of writing my story, I’m writing a grocery list and suddenly my precious time gone.
Going off-grid for a while is a good way to reset your focus. So, find a treehouse, borrow a friend’s trailer and set it up in your backyard with a do not disturb sign on the door, or rent a cabin at a state park. If you can, go on a private beach getaway. When you need a break, take a hike or a walk to clear your head and then get back to work. The peace and quiet may drive you crazy at first, but just start writing. Play your favorite music on your iPod or not. Do what works for you. Resist the urge to edit your work. Just write the story. Bring your notebook with photos related to your project, or open the photo file on your computer along with your list of characters and descriptions for quick reference. No Wi-Fi. Do not use internet, not even for research. Simply flag that spot and return to it later. This is your chance to get a first draft written, and rewrite a second or third one. Editing can wait. Just get the story written. And in the meantime, relax and enjoy the simplicity of an unplugged world.
Londa Hayden is a native Texan now living in beautiful Alabama with her husband and three sons. She studied music at East Texas Baptist University. Where Two Rivers Meet is the first historical romance in the Washington's Woods series. The idea for this novel was conceived while Hayden lived in West Virginia and began researching her personal genealogy. She discovered ancestral involvement with George Washington and his tobacco plantation during the Revolutionary War Era near Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Thus, the title Where Two Rivers Meet came about while overlooking the confluence of the Kanawha River and the Ohio River. Two more books are expected to follow. Her experience in the medical field gave her the opportunity to volunteer during the Katrina crisis, which inspired Candy Moon, the first in a children's book series. Candy Moon Choo Choo is the sequel and offers a touching tribute to veterans. Londa is the founding president for Bartlett Christian Writers and a staff writer for Southern Writers Magazine. Her memoir, Date Pray Wait offers Christian dating advice. Londa is happily married to Steve, her first and only husband, for almost three decades now. She enjoys spending time with her family. Other interests include volunteering for non-prophet organizations to help the homeless and teach Christian values to youth, theater, movies, music, crafts, the arts, exploring the outdoors and other cultures.