I’m going to misquote something for you. It’s one of my favorite quotes from the founder of Land of Nod. I read an interview with him in Marie Engelbreit’s Home Companion magazine. (Oh, my goodness, have you ever seen it? So many cute designers and their wares!) Anyway, the question posed to him was, “What’s the biggest stumbling block to creativity?” And his answer is brilliant:
The biggest stumbling block to creativity is first ideas. There’s always something better down the road if you just push a little.
Wow! When I first read this it just resonated with me. It’s easy to write a post (or a lesson, for me at that point) and then hit publish never to think about it again. But sometimes, it turns out to be what they call in school a rough draft! After I read that interview, I printed his quote and put it on my bulletin board. (I just can’t find it now! UGH. Anyone have any back issues of that mag?) So, whenever I would write an article for Real Life, I’d write it once, then I’d write a completely different article on the same topic–new examples, new intro, new twist. And 9 times out of 10, the second one was better. The 10th time, I’d usually combine the two together. I never used the first one.
I thought I’d try it today on my blog. The other day I wrote about Lydia co-sleeping with me. And although I liked the post, I didn’t love it. So, I’m going to rewrite it today. Here goes:
Last night my dh was out of town. I stayed up late playing online. I found this great family tree/ancestry website where you can plug in your family. Then, write stories, upload pictures and find actual documents about your family. I was swimming in the past when I looked at my clock and saw 1:20am! Ugh. So, I shut down the computer and finally went to sleep. I knew Lydia would sleep late because she’d had a crazy day, late nap and a late bedtime.
At 6:13am, not even 5 hours later, I hear a blood-curling scream coming out of Lydia’s room! I sat straight up and held my breath. Sometimes around 6:30 Lydia will cry out and then fall right to sleep. Granted, this is more than a cry-out, but I thought, maybe she’ll just fall right back to sleep. I counted to 30 to see if she’d stop. No such luck. I finally walked into her room and she was standing up holding onto the rails of her crib wailing her little heart out. I picked her up, still groggy and without my glasses. I wasn’t sure what to do, so we sat in her rocker for a few minutes. She was a little wiggly and then finally laid her head down on my shoulder, sucking her thumb. She lifted her head a few times to look at me, probably wondering what we were doing. I debated with myself as we rocked. If I calmed her down and then laid her back in her crib, she’d probably scream for about 5 minutes, then fall back to sleep for at least an hour. But I was too tired to deal with calming her down or a screaming fit. And what if she didn’t go back to sleep? Why had she woken up in the first place? So, I looked at her and said, “Do you want to sleep with Mommy?” She nodded her head and I carried her to my room.
We laid down on our tummies, with our heads on my pillow, my arm around her waist and she immediately stuck her thumb in her mouth. She was completely relaxed. I got nervous immediately. I wasn’t in a very comfortable position. If I started moving around, she might wake up and start moving around. I didn’t want to chance another screaming session. But she lifted her head a few times to look at me and every time she’d move, I’d move until we got into a safe and comfortable position.
I, of course, didn’t sleep a wink. I just watched my baby girl twirl her hair. I saw her back rise and fall with her breath. I watched her legs kick and twitch. I loved her thumb stroking her silky hair. I loved seeing just the back of her head looking so small on my pillow. It’s not a sight I watch too often. Lydia has never co-slept. She’s always slept in her own crib. I’m glad we did it that way but as she’s gotten older, I’ve watched her sleep less and less.
It felt good to lay there beside my daughter, listening to her breathe & hearing her loud sucking noises. And listening to the geese honking in the yard. And the sirens screaming down the street. Seriously! At 6 in th morning? What is going on?! But Lydia didn’t hear it. She slept and sucked on. About an hour later, I felt a little pat pat pat on my face. Lydia sat up, smiled and signed “milk”. She was awake, happy and hungry.
Throughout the day, I’d give her a hug and say, “Did you sleep with Mommy?” and she’d look right at me and say one of her few clear words, “Yessss.”
So, what do you think? Better? Worse? Too wordy? Just right? I don’t know, either. But it did stretch my creativity. It helped me think and write. Maybe I’ll rewrite this whole post, too!
What helps you be and stay creative?