Simplicity is freedom

Yesterday I went to one of my favorite little eating places for lunch. It was recently renovated, and I wanted to see what changes had been made. To my surprise, the menu had been pared down. My guess is that the owner felt the menu had become too broad and a small, locally-owned business couldn’t afford to do all of these items, so he returned to his original menu. It’s simpler: phillys and chicken tenders, fries and chips, nothing complicated.

It made me think about how I am. My very Laura-like tendency is to overcomplicate my life, especially my writing life. I tweet and blog and update (or at least think about it) in the name of building a platform for my real writing because this is what an aspiring writer is “supposed” to do, and forget what my focus ought to be: writing a great novel. Forget the “great” part; just writing a novel, period.

Simplicity is freedom. — Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline.

 It’s freeing to realize that I only need to focus on one thing. All the rest falls into their proper places when I get first things first.

 Recently, I’ve been thinking about simplicity and freedom, writing and focus and stories, both those we are told by our culture and those we tell ourselves. And after several months of writer’s block/mild depression/selling-a-house-and-moving-to-a-new-one hassles, I’m finally writing again. Really writing, not just piddling around, changing a comma here and there.

We’ll see what comes of these scribblings in my writer’s journal. Ray Bradbury demanded that his students write four pages a day, telling them that most of it would be trash, but the rest—the rest would save their lives. I’m sure you’ll see some of my scribblings on this blog, including some of the trash; in advance, forgive the rough patches!

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13 thoughts on “Simplicity is freedom

  1. I’m so glad to hear you’re writing again, Laura! Thanks for sharing these good thoughts today.

    There seems to be a great yearning for simplicity in our society, but I often think we’re searching for it in the wrong places. I’ve been known to mutter about not being able to concentrate on things — my writing, for instance — when my house or office is cluttered, my tasks are too arduous, or my calendar too full, etc., but in truth I think it’s the clutter in my mind that deflects productivity and contentment. I get rattled much too easily. Prayer helps me determine priorities and then I try to focus on the most important things, just one at a time. I’m always surprised and relieved at all I accomplish that way. I think that’s why I became a list-maker! Writing a list of priorities helped me see what was important and what should be eliminated; choosing something and setting a time limit on it helped me get through the list. And, boy, do I love crossing things off a list! LOL!

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    1. it’s the clutter in my mind that deflects productivity and contentment Same here. My mind was really cluttered for the past few months–trying to sell the house while still living in it with 2 small children really did a number on me. I’ve tried list-making before (and found crossing things off cathartic!) but I tend to make my lists too all-encompassing. Things are going better now that we’ve moved and I have my study/work room all set up. 🙂

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      1. Laura, you’ve got enough on your plate than to try to find time for my scribbles! I only mention them on the off chance you have a spare moment for frivolities.

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  2. I always find that you can always find time not to do things, as it were! I have mild chronic fatigue and I am always tired by 6 or 7pm; this means that I really have to force myself to sit at the keyboard and write. As you, I am an aspiring writer and one day I hope to see my work published and read by many people; at this moment it seems a distant dream but one of the things going for me is that I have idea after idea, I don’t know why but they flow out of me. Are all these ideas great? Not necessarily! Some are good, some are ok, and others…?! Well, they will probably never see the light of day… But even if you have one good idea, it could be the one that makes your name, fame and a few bucks too!

    When I force myself to just make time and write, I find that I can write… I don’t have writers block or anything like that. Writing is like going on a long trail; sometimes the going is good and you make lots of ground in good time. Other times, things get less good, the path disappears, there’s rocky outcrops you’ve got to negotiate, and then it rains… Things get hard, and they stay hard… And then, the path appears again, and you’ve got though the hard bit somehow! Of course, you have to know when to rest as well… All work and no play makes Jack (or Jill) a dull boy!

    Count your blessings, and be grateful you have the time to write; and then just make time for it.

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    1. Good for you to keep writing even when things are hard. I’m an easily exhausted person, too–once had a doctor diagnose me with chronic fatigue, but I kind of doubt that diagnosis is completely accurate–so I can identify with the being tired by 6 or 7. I love your analogy of writing to going on a long trail. Very descriptive! Good luck with your writing!

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  3. you may reach more people writing this blog that struggling to write a novel, if it is a struggle. 🙂 ive heard that relationships can be hard, and that they take work……then i saw someone else say a true friendship should be easier–you should be at ease and it should be natural. ive had different friends like that, but ive also had the other, and ive tried to work hard. i think maybe i think the latter is more correct, but im still thinking?? seems like some things are just gifts from God, and just feel right and correct, kinda like being at the beach wearing all white pretty garments–if you like the beach–just sitting there listening to the water and soaking it all in. then there have been times in my life when i strive sooooo hard. seems like a waste now sometimes. theres a time for both i guess. the SP at southside, BM, quoted to me at least once Cease Striving And Know That I AM God……ive had so many issues with anxiety. years ago with work, and now with my house and my clothes and my weight and just me in general. i dont feel like im as good as, as neat as, as pretty as, my house as nice as…….other issues, too of not feeling as good as……so, my clothes are old, i am fat, my house is dirty and doesnt look like better homes and gardens…..i just have to let it go i guess. everyones life and time and seasons are different. maybe its someone elses turn for some things. i just have to let it go. if i didnt read everything correct, please forgive me. so, if you write a novel, fine. if you dont ever write another book, probably fine, too. only you know. i think all our lives have meaning, just living it along the way. we may not think its too grand or great, but it is all probably just fine. 🙂 ive never been much of anything great. and most people probably dont even know who i am….:) but ive seen beautiful things, and been beautiful places, and met beautiful people. 🙂 ive seen Gods beauty all around, in all of His creation. 🙂 BM also told me, which i think i had heard before, the story of how our lives are like a work of art, like crosstich. we see the back and it all clumpy, but the other side is the beautiful picture. i hope what i see in my life is most of the clump. i hope god sees it as something better……if not, im in trouble–oops!!! 🙂 maybe these things are more than just meaningless cliches?!? i hope your new house works out well—hey, and i hope it looks better than mine!!! 🙂 have a good day!! 🙂 and whats the name of your food place. seems i read once you were eating at Taco Bell!!! 🙂 (i like taco bell!!) 🙂

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    1. Oh, I’ve heard that metaphor about the cross-stitch, too: how we see the back and God’s working on the design in front. Love that!
      And yes, writing a novel is a struggle. I’m struggling with where to go in this current work-in-progress. It’s a mess right now but I’m starting to have some hope that it’ll turn out okay. (It helps when I actually write and not just think about writing, you know?)
      Hope you have a great day, Robyn!!

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