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Adventures in Retirement- Taking time to create ideas and make decisions

Written by Bill Leavitt. Posted in Senior Living

Published on July 03, 2019 with No Comments

 Many writers I know sometimes get concerned about “writer’s block,” the difficulty in coming up with a subject or idea for something they need to write.  That might apply to writing stories, newspaper articles, columns like the one I do for The Chronicle,or writing about something for work.  It also can relate to making important decisions.

I have done some 70 articles in the past seven years for The Chronicleand often worry about coming up with the next good idea.  But I’ve always had success in eventually getting ideas to get me started.

One way I do that is to focus on the problem, then keep it in my mind for hours or days.  Sometimes people say that if you have an important decision to make, put it off until tomorrow.  The point is letting your subconscious work the problem while you are doing something else. That way, often you come up with a better decision.  Focusing on the problem with your self-conscious while going on with whatever else you are doing sometimes results in your mind creating the answer. Often a good idea just pops into your head.

I also use the environment around me. Wherever I am, I look around and search for things that give me ideas for what I am trying to do.  Outside on a beautiful day may give me an idea to do an article about the beauty of nature.  Listening to a song, like one by Jimmy Buffett, may give me an idea about philosophy.  Almost anything I am doing can give me an idea.

We all have situations when we need to come up with a creative idea, or design, or plan.  Also, we all have decisions to make and can use the same process to make better decisions. Ideas, decisions, etc., can come from surprising activities. For instance, thinking about a problem I am dealing with, going on vacation, or playing a game can give me ideas for something to write about.

It even works for making decisions.  Give your mind a chance to work through it while you are doing something else.  You will be surprised how often you come up with great ideas or good decisions.

One of my favorite songs is “Twenty-five or Six to Four” by Chicago.  The words reveal the difficulty in trying to write a new song. What is great about it is that the words describe the songwriter’s unsuccessful process in coming up with an idea. So, the song is actually his complaining about his failure at 25 minutes or 26 minutes to four o’clock in the morning, and that became Chicago’s most popular song.

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About Bill Leavitt

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Bill Leavitt is a technical writer from Valparaiso. After retiring from a large corporation in Chicago, he did technical writing consulting for many companies. He currently teaches part-time at Purdue University Calumet. You can order Leavitt’s book, “Retirement: Life’s Greatest Adventure,” by sending $16.65 (includes shipping and sales tax) made payable to Write On Technical Writing, Inc., P.O. Box 132,Valparaiso, IN 46384-0132. Or, visit RetirementLifesGreatestAdventure.com for more information.

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