by Carrie Conner
If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.
– Yogi Berra
“What do you do for a living?” asked the woman at a recent dinner party. The inevitable question – and the almost inevitable comment when I say I’m a writer: “Oh, I’m not creative. I could never be a writer.” Each time I hear this I want to laugh – and cry.
The idea of being uncreative and unable to write is a story this woman tells herself – possibly developed after seeing her second-grade essay bloodied with red pen.
Creating is what our human brains do best. Fed by our emotions, we spin tales out of thin air. In the process of walking from the porch to the mailbox, I can weave a Homeric saga, starring me as the reluctant hero battling the evil mortgage-banking empire in its plot to take over the universe.
The Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at the University of Southern California estimates that we have a thought roughly every 2.5 seconds, or up to 70,000 per day. Unfortunately, most of these thoughts are unconscious, running unchecked like a herd of bunnies, propelled by raw emotion, fearing what we desperately want to avoid.
Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.
– Henry Ford
Intentions give the subconscious a roadmap, indicating where we would prefer to end up. Consider them a call to action for your unconscious mind. If it’s going to gnaw on something anyway, why not let it mull over the outcome you would actually prefer?
Here is a list of intentions I set down before writing this column:
- I allow my column to be entertaining and useful.
- I allow my writing to flow freely with ease.
- I allow myself to have fun.
- I give myself full permission to write total &$#@ if that’s what wants to come out.
- I allow myself to hit my deadline with ease.
Emily Carr said, “Inspiration is intention obeyed.” It is time to find your inspiration. Write a list of intentions for yourself or one of your characters, and use them, or any part of them, in a work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry.
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An Invitation from VoiceCatcher
Willing to share what this prompt inspires you to write? Each month we might publish some responses to the VoiceCatcher prompts. Contact us to submit the writing the prompt elicits from you.
A friend once asked Carrie Conner why she writes. “Because I have to,” she said. “You mean like publish or perish?” he asked. “No,” she said, “It’s more like … breathing.” Carrie has spent 20 years as a staff and features journalist and freelance copywriter for a variety of publications and companies. One day, while interviewing an emerging novelist about her new book release, she realized she was done writing about other people’s accomplishments. She’s currently putting together a yet-untitled collection of short stories and a screenplay.