The Search by Meriam Wilhelm

November 20, 2019 by in category A Bit of Magic by Meriam Wilhelm with 1 and 0
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Lately, whenever I sit down to write, a million extraneous thoughts begin to wheedle their way into my head. Some irrelevant, others more important, they all tangle together, creating a web of distraction that entraps my creativity, smothering it in disorganization. Priority be damned, I sadly seem to let every random thought overtake me, derailing me from my storytelling track.

Frustrated and struggling to find some much needed  time to finish my next chapter, it suddenly occurred to me that my biggest stumbling block to success is me, myself and I!

Anxious to finish chapter thirteen in my new book, I sat down at my computer and constructed my opening paragraph. Yeah, I can do this. But then I remembered, I forgot to pay my Talbots bill. Struggling back to the story line, I was distracted  by my rumbling stomach. Did I ever eat breakfast this morning? Oh yes, I had toast with peanut butter. My neighbor called asking to borrow something or other and my mind began to wander. I definitely need to take a trip to the market to get more something or others. Back on task again, I glanced at my calendar resting on my desk. Jeez, I forgot my dentist appointment was tomorrow. Noting the date, I panicked. My daughter’s wedding is in three weeks and I have a million more things to do. Where am I ever going to find a pair of shoes to go with my dress? The shoes need to be the right shade of blue, comfortable and not too pricey. Maybe I should check online.

Achh, I was doing it again! I needed to stop my wandering
mind and get back to my chapter. But how was I ever going to tame my chaotic
brain?

Afraid I might be losing my writing mojo; I called my good friend who suggested that I create a To Do list and make a check each time I finish a paragraph until I finish the entire chapter. Good idea, right? Wrong. At least wrong for me. I already know what I need to do, I ‘m just not doing it. So I rationalized, if a To Do list can bring success, how about a Not To Do list?

After some reflection, I grabbed a moment and created a
short, but sturdy Not To Do list:

  1. I will not set up unreasonable time expectations. Instead, I will block off one hour at a time dedicated exclusively to writing, intent on training my mind to stay on task. If I do this right, one hour will eventually turn into two... I hope!
  2. I will not sit down to write on an empty stomach or in need of a cup of coffee. Oh, and a trip to the bathroom before hitting the keyboard might be wise.
  3. I will not leave my calendar in plain sight while writing. The brightly colored floral pages are really quite pretty and equally distracting.
  4. I will not answer the phone for a one hour block of time while writing. I get a lot of phone calls, so an hour seems like a doable amount of time to restrict my calls.
  5.  I will not allow nagging tasks to tempt me to distraction.  Should one pop into my head, I will work hard to deflect it. If it continues to pry its way in, I will jot it down on a sheet of paper and  get back to writing. At the end of my hour, I can review my jotted thoughts and return phone calls, if I so desire.

It’s day three of my Not To Do list and it’s going okay… I guess. Unfortunately, chapter thirteen is still incomplete, but at least it’s a lot further along than it was. 

I think I need to add a 6th item: I will neither panic nor give up if this doesn’t work right away.

Perhaps you too have faced these same struggles? If you have any strategies that have worked for you, I’d love to hear them.

Until then, Happy Writing!

Author Details
Author Details
For thirty-five years, Meriam Wilhelm worked in education. From high school teacher to college dean to her favorite job of elementary school principal, she took an excitingly non-traditional pathway, always passionate about shaping young minds. When she retired, something magical happened. Wilhelm was bitten by the writing bug and her chosen genre was paranormal romance – specifically of the witchy persuasion. Now, six books into The Witches of New Moon Beach series, she is bringing her passion for learning to her new profession. A world traveler, Wilhelm has researched the history and culture of witchcraft and found inspiration as far away as Bergen, Norway and as close as her home town. A Redondo Beach resident, she decided there was no better location for her family of witches to reside than the beaches outside her own front door. “I think there is magic in everyone you meet,” Wilhelm says. “You just have to look for it.” In her case, you also have to write about that magic. Currently, Wilhelm is working on book seven, The Witch of Bergen. She is the recipient of the Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewers Choice Award. She is married and the mother of three grown children and a brand new grandma. When not writing or traveling, Meriam Wilhelm can be found at her sewing machine, at yoga class or, of course, reading.
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For thirty-five years, Meriam Wilhelm worked in education. From high school teacher to college dean to her favorite job of elementary school principal, she took an excitingly non-traditional pathway, always passionate about shaping young minds. When she retired, something magical happened. Wilhelm was bitten by the writing bug and her chosen genre was paranormal romance – specifically of the witchy persuasion. Now, six books into The Witches of New Moon Beach series, she is bringing her passion for learning to her new profession. A world traveler, Wilhelm has researched the history and culture of witchcraft and found inspiration as far away as Bergen, Norway and as close as her home town. A Redondo Beach resident, she decided there was no better location for her family of witches to reside than the beaches outside her own front door. “I think there is magic in everyone you meet,” Wilhelm says. “You just have to look for it.” In her case, you also have to write about that magic. Currently, Wilhelm is working on book seven, The Witch of Bergen. She is the recipient of the Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewers Choice Award. She is married and the mother of three grown children and a brand new grandma. When not writing or traveling, Meriam Wilhelm can be found at her sewing machine, at yoga class or, of course, reading.
  • Tari Jewett says:

    Yes! We’re our own worst enemies when it comes to getting things done. I need to start a list like that…only writing lists would have to be on my list!

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