Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Quest for Stillness by Betsy Ashton

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning. ~ Albert Einstein

I looked at this quote for days before deciding for me questioning is second nature. I'm a writer. I ask questions of people I meet, myself. I was a teacher who loved the Socratic method. Now I wonder if all that questioning wasn't a quest for something else. Stillness.

Stillness is in short order in our daily life. It's hard to be in the moment, still within one's self, when we are barraged with noise, social media, multiple screens on our desks and in our homes, differing shouted viewpoints. It's nearly impossible to be still.

But it can be done. Writers know it. It's when we put our fingers on our keyboards and let our imagination take over. We live for a while within the confines of our minds, creating characters, setting scenes, writing dialogue. It's all there, but it's so hard for it to function, to find its outlet, when chaos surrounds us. 

Take time for yourself. Take a few minutes every day, even five minutes will work. to DO NOTHING. Really nothing. Sit. Listen to your heart beat. Count your breaths. At the end of five minutes you will be refreshed. You will be energized. You will be ready to internalize yesterday's lessons, find inspiration in today, and write like heck tomorrow.

Good luck. 


Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max Unintended Consequences available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The second book in the series, Uncharted Territory, will be released in June 2015.


Diane Burton said...

What great advice, Betsy. While driving, I always played the radio now I prefer silence. Great way to let the imagination work without distractions.

Jannine Gallant said...

I'm a quiet freak. No background noise when I'm home alone. Of course the second the family gets home, that all changes... There's a lot to be said for stillness.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Like Jannine, I'm a quiet freak too. I smiled when you said as a teacher, you loved the Socratic method. My son teaches 8th grade social studies and has his class doing a unit on Plato. Seats are placed in a circle and Steve asks a question about their reading assignment. He has rules...only one person speaks at a time, if you disagree on a person's opinion, you cannot tell him or her they are wrong, but must say I looked at it in a different manner and got this out of the passage. When Steve told his principal he was teaching his class Plato and they were loving it, the principal gasped, "Not 8th graders." Steve invited him in to observe. We've got to stop dumbing down classes. We've got to make them believe in how smart they are. He said the only disturbance you'll hear in my classes is when I jump up on my desk, clap my hands and thank a student for hitting it on the nail. "Well, what are you teaching the slow class?" the principal wanted to know. Same thing...same way...just a tad slower. And they are proud to be learning Plato. Steve adores the Socratic method. Oops, I've rambled. But Betsy, I do take a few minutes of silence a day to stare off and try to empty my mind.

Betsy Ashton said...

Diane, I love windshield time. It lets me think, daydream and plot nefarious happenings for my characters.

My husband is normally very quiet, Jannine. That's why we can share an office and not drive each other nuts. He will work on his stuff while I write. I'm usually noisier because I sass back at my characters.

Oh my dear Vonnie. I love how your son teaches. I taught college, so my students were supposed to be more responsible. Still, I'd have to stand on my desk occasionally to keep large classes in control...

Barbara Edwards said...

Thanks for reminding me to stop. I focus so much on doing I don't pause to recharge. I should post this on my computer screen.