Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Clarity: Thinking Toys

Do you have a thinking toy? I do.

It's a rainbow-colored mini Slinky. It was given to me along with a thank-you note for speaking at a conference. At the time, I thought: cute. But why?

Now I keep it near at hand, along with my timer and my bottle of Clarity.

Whenever I get stuck (or paused or temporarily waylaid) in my Work in Progress, I grab the slinky and start stretching it in and out like an accordion. I toss it from hand to hand. I twist it and watch the lines of color warp and shift like one of those psychedelic screen savers.

And it works. It gives my procrastination and mental maze wandering a physical outlet, like staring at a mandala or a Smoky Mountain creek.

Clarity. In a bottle. In a spring (slinky or mountain-fed.) Or in focused work to the beat of a timer.

How do you achieve Clarity?


  1. I like the colorful slinky; I'm thinking of putting it on my birthday list.

  2. *sigh* if i knew how to achieve clarity I'd write a book. :)

    I try to walk outside and clear my head (is that boring?)

  3. You'll know this already, but: I make lists and I outline. Particularly if I'm having trouble with something I'm writing. Once a big list of things to do is on the page, it can be prioritized and conquered; and going back and stating each of my ideas in one line helps me figure out how to arrange and expand on them.

  4. When Eisha and her husband went to Greece (where they got engaged, ooo la la), they came back bearing gifts and brought me philospher's, or "worry," beads -- similar to the ones pictured here.

  5. Jules, those beads are beautiful. I must now go to Greece!

  6. I have an entire shelf of focus points above my computer. Whatever I choose to look at depends on the day. I have everything from photos or people and locations, to stuffed toys (a couple of furbies, a brightly coloured seal, a mask of zorro beanie bear), I also have a wooden tuk tuk from Thailand and a couple of ceramic fairies. Something for every mood and occasion. When stuck for inspiration or focus I look up and let my eyes drift until they focus on something and very soon I am back and ready to write.


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