Tuesday, August 15, 2006

CWO - An opportunity for creativity!

Captain’s Log, Stardate 08.15.2006

Blog book giveaway:
My Thursday book giveaway is RELUCTANT BURGLAR by Jill Elizabeth Nelson.
My Monday book giveaway is GEORGIA ON HER MIND by Rachel Hauck.
You can still enter both giveaways. Just post a comment on each of those blog posts. On Thursday, I'll draw the winner for RELUCTANT BURGLAR and post the title for another book I'm giving away.



Check out Christian Women Online (click on the button above) to see what other women are blogging about this quote!

"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."
~ Albert Einstein ~


Being a writer, my difficulties usually lie in fictional characters who won’t do what I tell them to (sounds remarkably like kids, don’t you think?).

The quote today reminded me of a tip I learned that can actually be applied not just to writing, but to a lot of everyday things, as well. Anytime a bit of creativity is needed:

How do I keep the kids occupied?
Where can I hide the candy?
What should I get Aunt Louise for her birthday?

Or, like for me, what should my hero do in this scene? What the heck happens next in the story? Why is my heroine such a basketcase?

In these difficult quandries is an opportunity for creativity! (To, uh, tie it in to the quote above)

There’s a marketing theory called “top of mind awareness.” It means that certain things will get implanted in your memory simply because you hear or see them often enough. When you recall them, they come to you quickly because they’re at “the top of your mind” and you’re more aware of them.

Say you name cereals. The first five will be ones you either eat often or see lots of commercials for. For me, it’s Honey Bunches o’ Oats, Cheerios, Blueberry Morning, Shredded Wheat, Special K. I have to work harder to list cereals I don’t eat—granola, raisin bran, Frosted Flakes.

People also tend to remember odd numbers of things, which is why there are lots of lists only 5 points long. Any more than five, and people have to work harder to remember.

So when we make lists of things, the first five things we jot down will be things at “the top of our awareness,” things we’ve likely seen or heard of before. But the sixth, seventh, eighth idea will be more unusual, more creative, more original.

Here’s an example from my real life:
What to get Mom for her birthday?

1. Jewelry (I got her earrings before)
2. iPod (done that, too)
3. Purse (baaaaaaaaaad idea—I was only ten, and I didn’t know that a woman’s purse is a very personal preference)
4. Book (another bad idea—she never read it)
5. Clothes (I picked a really nice outfit she never wore)

Um...okay now it’s getting harder.

6. Heating pad (hey, that’s a new one, and her shoulder has been bothering her)
7. Yoga video (except she might never use it)
8. Digital camera (aaaah, I’d be the favored daughter for a few months with that, assuming it was easy to use)

Try it! Comment and tell me your list or how it worked for you!

TMI:
(For Christian Women Online visitors, I label this section “TMI” or “too much information” so that those of my readers who really could care less about my diet and writing woes can skip it.)

Diet: I’ve been doing Denise Austin’s Daily Workout and Power Yoga every morning, and the yoga program is kicking my butt.

The strength poses are great for my surgery knee to help strengthen the muscles. And I think I tore the meniscus on the good knee so the exercises are good for that side, too. But those poses can be hard. My gluteus maximus (which, as Denise Austin says, we're trying to make into our gluteus minimus!) had been worked so hard by the poses that I literally felt like my butt had been kicked with a steel-toed boot.

Yesterday I tried backbends. The instructor is actually great at showing or describing poses for both beginner and advanced yoga students, so all levels can participate in each pose. In fact, she often has beginner or intermediate students along with the more advanced ones on the program.

The backbends were interesting and challenging. I don’t think I’ve done a backbend since I was six. My spine was trying to tell me that, too.

But after all her warm-up poses, amazingly, I did it, if only for a few seconds. My back was a little achey afterward, but not really very bad—and not the same kind of ache as when I injured it. It’s more of a “my muscles are tired and freaking out from the unaccustomed usage” ache. I’ve felt that kind of ache when I played volleyball, so I’m not concerned.

This is so much more challenging to my body than running has ever been. But it’s enjoyable, too—energizing and relaxing at the same time because of the stretching my body is doing.

I’m actually going to wax a bit philosophical, here.

Before, I’d go running to get in shape because people said it’s good for your body and a quick way to lose weight.

But this time I’m doing yoga because of the surgery to my knee (I figured, the fact that this was the second surgery on the same knee was a signal to wise up). And this time, I’m really enjoying the exercise—moreso than I ever did running, possibly because I’m not heaving and panting so hard I feel like I'm going to hurl out my lung.

But also, I feel like I’m doing it not so much to lose weight as to become healthier. I don’t care as much about the weight part (although don’t get me wrong, I could stand to lose about 20 pounds) as much as I’m starting to care about taking care of my body for my golden years. Or even my silver years, when everything starts to fall apart, which aren’t that far away for me.

I’m more flexible than I was only a couple weeks ago. My joints ache less. I’m getting stronger. My back and neck problems have been at a minimum even though I haven’t been able to make it to my chiropractor in like forever.

Rachelle Gardner (who is, by the way, editor for my book!) is working on a yoga book for Christians! I can’t wait for it to come out!

10 comments :

  1. Dear, with my children, I'm never at a loss to spark creativity. Go with the heating pad or the camera....either will make you the "favored" child, or in my family, we call it "the annointed one"! LOL

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  2. I love your idea of using the list to find creative solutions/ideas. I'm going to have to try that.

    And I know what you mean about the yoga kicking your butt. Only with me it's not yoga, it's pilates. I do ten minute segments; flexibility, abs, buns & thighs, sculpting for arms etc and the buns & thigh stretches are torture, plain and simple.

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  3. I like that angle--opportunity for creativity. Thumbs up!

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  4. The 5 items list. I've used that concept for ages and never really thought about why it worked. In fact it's why my 101st post was sorted into 5 thins. I knew I could come up with lists of 5 while it was impossile to ome up with 100. :)

    Yes, I think too think of trouble as an opportunity for creativity, in fact I think I mentioned it in my own post on the same subject. My metal smithng professor once told me that every difficulty was a chance to get creative and that we have to choose to get creative when dealing with anything. I think he was actually threatening me with the thought that if I didn't pull my college student bottom together and stop whining I was going to lose my creativity. It took me ages to figure it out but he was right. I chose to take his advice. :)

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  5. What a different take on the quote. I like it! "Top of Mind Awareness"...I'd never thought of that before but it's very true.

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  6. great post! You got me smiling. I think I'm going to have to try the list thing!

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  7. I need to check out the list thing. I think you are right that only have so much room to remember when reading a list. Thank you for sharing.

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  8. That list thing sounds awesome. I'm gonna start using it!

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  9. Camy, this made me think of searching for words when writing. Don't always want to use the same word over and over. Can come up with a few synonyms that I've also grow tired of. Then, I have to reach for the thesarus to find just the right word.

    I'm a list-lover by the way!

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  10. Two things, Camy -- the yoga book is called Holy Yoga. Anyone interested should check out author Brooke Boon's website, HolyYoga.net. The book won't be out until next year.

    Also, just got your manuscript from Z and woohoo! I'm excited to read it!!

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