1 Words as Seeds - Planting New Ideas | Traveling Light Blog by Travel Writer Colleen Friesen

Words as Seeds – Planting New Ideas



Most of my life I have operated under the 0-60 mph game plan.

This means, that if my dear (and oh-so-patient) husband, happens to mention an idea, and if that particular plan is something that I like, then my response is that it must be done NOW. As in ASAP. Stat! Let’s go! What are we waiting for?! Onward Ho!!

Needless to say, Kevin has learned to be careful about what he mentions. Some might even call him gun-shy.

This all-or-nothing, let’s get-’er-done style has worked for me for most of my life.

But lately I have been modifying my thinking and my approach.

Have you ever noticed that words are like seeds? I’m not sure when the first seed of a new way of thinking was planted but a recent trigger was while I was reading Robin Levy’s memoir called Most of Me. She mentioned that she has always been a creative person and liked to draw, paint, make jewellry and write. She talked casually about her writing, as if it was just one more way of expressing herself and that was how she came to write the memoir. WTH?

And now I’m reading This I Know by Susannah Conway. She writes that she’s a photographer and a writer but she’s mostly just a little of each. More WTH?

Beep! Beep! Back the truck up!

These women are suggesting that one doesn’t have to be ONE thing to the exclusion of all other options. I have spent years beating myself up with the old adage that REAL writers write for hours and hours every day (preferably whilst semi-suicidal and tucked in a freezing garret).

Whenever I thought of writing, I refused to count these blog posts as ‘real’ writing. And I never counted my daily morning pages habit (of three hand-written pages each day for the last 15 years) as legitimate writing either. And I certainly didn’t count any travel or other articles as ‘real’ writing.

Real writing was something else altogether, resulting in something substantial, preferably with hard-covers.

But between these two aforementioned books and other conversations, those word-seeds started to germinate. This has resulted in me giving myself permission to say that, yes, THIS (what I am doing right here with this blog) is quite real.

And that furthermore, it’s okay to focus on writing for awhile, like in my upcoming residency in Oaxaca, but that it doesn’t have to be every day forevermore. Maybe I can just have a nice concentrated time of writing…and then…do something else.  Big WTH Revelation Alert!

I might even come back from that writing program and decide to take painting classes or photography or a cooking class, but that doesn’t mean I then have to paint or photograph or keep my apron on every day because otherwise I won’t be a painter or a photographer or chef or a this or a that.

What if instead, I simply describe myself as a creative person, and that the medium changes depending on what I feel like doing?

Now there’s a new thought. Perhaps it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Perhaps it can be a little of everything. I think I might be morphing into more of a 30 m.p.h. gal.

Probably less chance of whiplash at this cruising speed. Not to mention the resultant sudden bonus of free time and  maybe Kevin won’t be quite so hesitant to share his next idea…

Now there’s a thought.


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4 Responses
  1. Sharry says:

    I, too, tend to find myself having all-or-nothing tendencies. I was a weaver, a basket maker, a spinner, a quilter, a glass artist…. Note the word “was.” I went through phases, picking up new passions every couple of years. Of course, I still have everything I need to do all of these things because someday I want to do them again. Right now, I’m writing.

    Normally, I attribute this flakiness to a short attention span and boredom once I learn how to do something reasonably well. Mostly, though, I blame lack of time. If my days were my own, I’d have time to pursue all of these things. Of course, I probably wouldn’t, but I’ll hang onto all the stuff, just in case.

  2. Colleen Friesen says:

    Wow Sharry. That’s quite an amazing list. I don’t think flakiness is the right word to describe your trend in learning new ways to create. You clearly like to make beautiful and functional art and it manifests in fabulous and different ways.
    And yes, you never know what you might do when you have more time. Might be none or all of the above! Anything’s possible.

  3. Mandy Hale says:

    Love the picture, love the post. Sharry and I were in that very spot pictured while riding our Vancouver/Salt Island/Victoria/Vancouver trip several springs ago. That’s when we met you, my dear!

  4. Colleen Friesen says:

    Thanks Mandy. I love that people take the time to balance stones and sticks so that we can all share in the artistry.
    It’s cool that you recognize the spot from “several springs ago”. Yikes. Several went by in a hurry didn’t it??

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