Life can be distracting.
Like Chuck E. Cheese meets social media meets teenage boys sporting pants-that-are-hanging-on-by-a-penguin-walk-and-a-prayer distracting.
Switching gears between home, work, school and family responsibilities sometimes doesn’t seem humanly possible. Our brains aren’t always willing to jump from one project to the next.
That’s where our little breaks come in: ten minutes to stare into space, twenty minutes to pop in on Facebook, thirty minutes to (once again) re-organize our desk, an hour and a half to grab lunch with a friend. These daily escapes shoved in-between the real stuff can be enough to recharge initiative levels.
They can also be a major time-suck on the productive portions of our days.
To avoid spiraling down the not-getting-anything-done abyss, I’ve found a brain-refresher that takes very little time with often better results: The Five Minute Poetry Pick-Me-Up.
These short poetic trysts have been especially helpful to me when writing. Since I’m often leap-frogging from project to project within the same day, it’s sometimes difficult to slam myself onto a new screen and dig in. Even when my focus is on one story, I might hit a wall.
And, folks, slamming into screens and hitting walls hurts.
When that kind of pain sets in, it’s time for a break. Instead of reaching for the phone or a cup of tea every time, I grab one of my poetry books, open at random, and take five minutes to clear my head. Not only does this momentarily take my mind off of any problems with my works-in-progress, it almost always helps me fix them when I return. Short, succinct, thoughtful, descriptive writing can do that.
Now, I know some of you are going to say that you don’t like poetry. That you can’t get into it. That it’s all fluffy, narcissistic, psycho-babble that is incomprehensible to your discerning ears.
To that I say — you just haven’t found the right poetry for you…yet.
Or, if you break into a glistening sweat at the mere thought of leaving your computer and want to find something NOW, there are a ton of websites like Linebreak, Poem of the Day, and The Best American Poetry Blog that publish daily or weekly poems, often with audio versions.
Whichever medium you choose, here’s the key — Don’t be afraid of poetry.
Turn the page and take it in. Just like you breathe deep of the biting-cold air on those first wintry days (you know, before you start cursing Old Man Winter with ritualistic dancing and voodoo dolls) — you may be surprised at how good it feels.
Call it a break. Call it a diversion. Better yet, call it inspiring. A poetic pick-me-up may be just enough to lure you from your glazed reverie so that you can focus on the challenges in front of your face.
I only ask that you give it a try.
And then get back to work.
For those who are more poetically inclined, consider being a part of the April 2011 PAD (Poem-A-Day) Challenge. You can get all of the details at Robert Lee Brewer’s Writer’s Digest blog, Poetic Asides.
This post was part of Get Inspired Monday! — a series created to help you dig into your week and find inspiration in unexpected places.
On Tap March 14th: YA writer, Natalie Whipple
Find me on Twitter @amandahoving