“Doing Dishes” is Where My Muse Hides

by Michelle on June 15, 2011

in Inspiration and Productivity

Sometimes my best ideas come when I’m taking a quick 9-minute break, doing dishes. Like 15 minutes ago – I stepped away from my computer, went to my kitchen, and started cleaning a few dishes that had piled up (I like to keep my kitchen spotless – it’s probably the most impressive room in my apartment). Something about the warm water, the plastic scrubber, the suds that arise as a result of using Free & Clear Seventh Generation dish soap, and engaging in an utterly brainless activity – causes my unconscious mind to suddenly come up with good ideas.

I rush back to my desk, write down notes on a piece of scrap paper – notes that will inform what I eventually do with this blog site, which has been fairly dormant since I had it set up. Mostly, I was deciding whether or not to make it another ‘professional’ blog (read: lacking in life; hiding my true self), or whether or not to incorporate some of my craziness into it. In other words… whether or not to incorporate the natural craziness that comes along with being:

  • a creative person
  • a futuristic thinker
  • a shunner of the status quo
  • one-who-seeks-an-alternative-wherever-possible-if-the-currently-available-options-suck
  • one who is part of my family
  • or just someone who is me; i.e., me.

I have been an “actress” so to speak, for the past 10 years, raiding online forums and experimenting with how I come across via written language. It all started with AOL chatrooms back in 1999 (I know, I know…), then progressed to wanna-be writer forums, then forums that I followed in order stalk ex-boyfriends, then forums that I participated in merely to battle people who I thought were doing it wrong; and finally, forums that were filled with truly cool people who were, like me, working to improve some area of their lives – be it their work, their bodies, or their bank accounts.

Now I’m at the place where I REALLY feel like integrating all my various selves, behaviors, activities, words, deeds, and quirks – into one coherent life where I’m not trying to hide things from one particular group or another, and I’m not having to worry about whether words that I posted at XYZ match up with words I posted on ABC.

Once upon a time, I prided myself in being virtually invisible on the internet. There were no traces of me on Google anywhere. I self-googled like a mad woman, daily, to ensure that this was always the case. Sometimes I slipped up, and then paranoia kicked in. Finally, one day I was like: “How am I supposed to accomplish all the goals I have, if I keep deliberately remaining hidden? How stupid.”

So I started leaving crumbs, a paper trail, etc. Started using my real name, and then began shifting my focus from being a giggling trouble-maker-for-the-hell-of it to someone who helps people.

I’m sure all of this makes no sense to an outsider who is just joining, but a really brilliant suggestion I received from my biz coach was to write your novel / book in bits and pieces, via your blog. For some reason, it’s super easy to write a blog, but it’s painstakingly impossible to write a novel chapter. So this is step 1 in outsmarting my own mind.

Thank you, dirty dishes, for this brief bit of inspiration. I now return to my regularly scheduled program.

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