Last weekend I went hunting for a particular outfit. Anyone that knows me, is well aware of my great ability to buy clothes (NOT). So it was with much trepidation I went out with my fashionista (daughter) as my guide.

I kept two things in mind---don't let the side down....but more importantly be open minded.

I decided I would try on anything offered to me...any style....any shape....any colour.

And while this did result in some amusing (perhaps if you weren't me....I mean looking like a pale lemon cucumber is not my thing) it had benefits.

In the end, much to my surprise, I had two dresses I couldn't decide between. So in a rush of over heated enthusiasm, got both.

So why did this work out? We all know occasions when we go out, intent because we have to buy has to be this length, this shape, this colour and this fabric.  And because we are being so specific, we can never find it. We return home defeated. Upset that we can't get exactly what we want.

I knew I wanted a dress and for it to be pretty. That was offered up a broad spectrum for interpretation.

This I notice, also happens in our writing. It's those times that I'm super focused, that the story has to have this character and this setting and be this exact word count, that things become adrift. It becomes stale and stagnant....cliches abound.....the setting becomes a piece of thin paper with no reality.

Often it is the writing where you begin not knowing exactly where you are going, but have an idea of the general direction you are heading, that is the freshest. These are the stories or novels or ideas that zing. They have a clarity to them.

This, I believe, is because we went in with no fixed ideas.

It happens every time I attend a writing workshop. The occasion when the tutor / instructor asks us to write. There is that shuffling of papers and pens, as everyone looks at everyone else and does the 'really, you really want us to write coldly on the memory we had when we were six?' look of bewilderment.

I am amazed each time at the results. Some of the writing is raw yes, some of it is very painful, or intoxicating with memory, yet these pieces are real. 

See what happens if you sit down with no rigid set of rules before you. You are allowed to write anything.

Anything. It opens the doors wide to speculation.

And excitement. 


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