“Deadlines and commitments….what to leave in, what to leave out…”
Bob Seger, Against the Wind
- Headline haiku. I’ve been working for hours, I’m on a tight deadline, and my frazzled brain has completely lost the main thread of a project. I want to step away from my computer for a few minutes, but I don’t want to lose my train of thought. So I go outside, or sit by the window and watch the birds swoop down and snatch up kibble from the dog dish; while I’m away from the work, my mind takes all the info that’s trying to shoulder through a thin door, and lines it up, haiku-style.
As I’ve just proved, the haiku doesn’t have to be good, it just helps organize the thoughts. For my own use, charts, lists and bullet points aren’t nearly as effective as this poetic tack.
2. Take a project further. Several years ago, I was hired by a local non-profit to visit the local rest home and interview a few people about their lives. It was an amazing day, filled with stories of loss, love and wisdom. After I wrote up the individual profiles, I still couldn’t get a few of those open, friendly folks and their stories out of my mind, so I wrote a poem about each of them. The one that still sticks with me was about a man who couldn’t remember his own son’s name or where he was, but recounted his experiences in depth about homesteading in
3. Outdoor spot poetry. If you’re looking for the perfect activity on an autumn artist date, try this: pack a few colored markers in your pocket and head out to a local park. As you relax and feel your creativity twanging back into shape, take out a marker and scribble a quick poem on a leaf or a bit of tree bark, then let the wind whisk it away. (Yes, you should use water-based markers, but I’m not the pen police.) The feeling of watching your words lifting up with the breeze and becoming part of nature is liberating. Plus, you’ll occasionally get someone shuffling through autumn leaves and discovering your poem. I always hope it’s a pleasant surprise, but either way, it’s still a great method to boost your energy levels and relieve that deadline stress.