Living a simple, stress-free life is something I always strive for, though continually fail at… miserably. I read articles and buy into the latest organization techniques, but always end up where I began, frazzled and let-down. Then comes the holiday season, and my need for a perfect, memorable experience throws my inner longings for nostalgia and order into chaos. Toss in my discombobulated focus in writing time, I pretty much set myself up for failure every year and then stew in my own self-created disappointment.
This year? I’m calling it quits. This year I am hyper-focused on keeping life simple. How am I doing that? I’m thinking in threes!
Writers do it all the time. Remembering back to my early childhood, I found the allure of threes in all the books I read; The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and even Rumpelstiltskin gave the maiden three chances to guess his name. This “Rules of Three” concept doesn’t end in fairytales. As I researched, I found it alive in many forms of literature, famous speeches, movies, and more.
Andrew Dlugan wrote in his article, How to Use the Rule of Three in Your Speeches, “…There is something magical about the Rule of Three in the way that it allows a speaker to express a concept, emphasize it, and make it memorable.” He went on to provide example after example, but his point settled in me; reaching far beyond the realms of writing. I could apply it to living.
Express a concept (What am I trying to accomplish in writing, in life, or even in my “to-do’s” for the day? How can I hone in and become more intentional in what I’m trying to do?)
Emphasize it (Do it well. Whatever I am focused on, be it in my writing, my work, or baking Christmas cookies, be in the moment and put my best self forward)
Make it memorable (WOW – this is the point that hit me the most, thinking back to the core of who I am. That “mama-guilt” I tend to carry inside that I haven’t created enough memorable experiences for my children… or lasting moments of empowerment for the students in my day-job classroom… or what about me? Have I been so busy “striving forward” in my life drive that I’ve missed out on the life I have now?)
We’re only gifted one life to live, so I must narrow things down. I have to find a way to fit all my muddled and scattered ideas of life… work… writing… into lovely little packages. Simplicity at its best.
The challenge? Keeping everything neatly in its box.
Oxford Dictionaries defines simplicity as the quality or condition of being easy to understand or do; the quality or condition of being plain or natural. This is exactly what I need. A one, two, three, done kind of attitude. That seems simple enough. I could use it with my TO-DO lists, my errands, my writing schedule, my down time, the upcoming holiday craze…
In a way, it reminds me of Haiku. Three lines to tell a story or moment and impress a feeling in the reader. So much freedom, although with restrictions and challenge at the same time. It forces me (in a good way) to be intentional and mindful of my task.
A few days ago, a co-worker of mine found me in the hall and asked to borrow some supplies. As I hurriedly led him back to my classroom, he said something powerful, “Whoa, slow down. There’s no need to rush.” It felt so good to agree. I slowed my pace, took in a breath, and chatted with my friend along the way. This was more important than the thirty seconds I could have saved rushing. And it felt better too. I wonder if I’ve rushed my characters along in scenes they’ve needed to slow down and feel.
I plan on researching and writing more on this subject, as I truly want to implement these strategies in my life. I also hope I’ve inspired you a little in taking the path less traveled. It’s time to slow down the pace of life, so we can breathe and enjoy where we’re at. Perhaps more good will come of it, and less stress felt.
Many blessings to you and yours this holiday season, regardless of what or how you celebrate. I implore you look for ways to simplify every facet of your life, and hopefully acknowledge more of what you really want.
Christmas twinkle lights
Glow in obsidian night
Writing Advice: Haiku You
Write a Haiku about your life, about writing, about the holiday… force yourself to express a thought in three lines or less. I wrote a Christmas Haiku above, following the traditional Japanese syllable rule of 5-7-5. However, once you get into the translation of Japanese to English, the whole syllable thing flies right out the window. So, don’t get too caught up in the syllable count.
Can you sum up an event or feeling in three phrases? Share if you are able – I love a good Haiku!
~By Celaine Charles, December 23, 2018
Dlugan, Andrew. How to Use the Rule of Three in Your Speeches, 27 May 2009, sixminutes.dlugan.com/rule-of-three-speeches-public-speaking/.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_three_%28writing%29 (the three bears)
http://www.standrew.org/ (keep calm and rules of three)
https://www.sinaischool.com/2014/06/japanese-haikus-written-year-4/ (haiku with cherry blossoms)
https://2one2blog.wordpress.com/tag/spaces/ (twinkle lights)
Categories: Thoughts on writing...