Throwing Caution to the Wind


Up until now, I have been a ‘planner’ – a necessity when one is a mother and a full-time teacher. However, over the past few years I have found that being a rigid planner is a hindrance during the writing process, resulting in cardboard cut-out type characters or a predictable plot. 

To avoid this pitfall, I introduced a very strange concept into my life: spontaneity. I have never been known to be spontaneous and anything off plan often made me feel uncomfortable. Now my daughter is all grown up and leading her own life, my husband and I have begun to take on-the-spot adventures. Throwing caution to the wind from time to time gives life balance as well as supplying copious amounts of story ideas. I would highly recommend it. 
 
Last Saturday evening, we were watching the late local news and were reminded that in an hour’s time, the yearly Cologne event of Kölner Lichter (a firework display) would take place. My husband looked at me and the next thing I knew we were heading to Cologne on his motorbike – no way would we be able to park a car. 

Needless to say, we had a blast! The whole world seemed to have congregated on the streets of Cologne for this event. I still don’t know what the occasion is actually for, but who cares? We had a lot of fun, met some interesting characters and saw an amazing symphony of colour explode into the starry skies.

I would be interested to know if you have done anything spontaneous lately. Do you embrace spontaneity or are you a rigid planner? 
 
Free the Mind


Comments

  1. I don't plan anything (except mowing the lawn on Saturdays). Life is too short to shove yourself into a hole.

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    1. I've recently found that out, Mac! Good for you mowing the lawn every Saturday. I'm looking at mine now. It's screaming out for a trim but shucks, it's raining :) Thanks for popping over!

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  2. I have certain dates when things have been arranged (like 30th of this month when we meet) but as for the rest, we do what we like in the Hackles Household. Spontaneity is the order of the days here.

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    1. I can't give up planning completely. It would drive me insane but I am liking the on-the-spot adventures. Looking forward to seeing you very soon :)

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  3. I thought the last photo was a double star cluster! I mean, a deep space object ...

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    1. I love that last photo. Unfotunately I was unable to capture its true essence with my phone. Thank you for popping by to comment. Nice 'to meet' you.

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    2. Thanks Nicola, and thanks for your kind comments and encouragement on my own blog. You've inspired me to post another short story today!

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  4. Well done, Nicola - that sounds like a brilliant night out! We tend to plan most things, though not too far in advance. I love when we decide to do something unexpected and you're encouraging me to do more!

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    1. If I can do it, Rosemary, anyone can. I'm notorious for not doing things on the spur of the moment and have witnessed a few shocked faces recently when I've said, 'yes, let's do it!'. Thank for popping by. Really pleased that you enjoyed the RNA conference.

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  5. How wonderful, Nicola - an amazing night out! I prefer to be spontaneous too. I never plan what I'm going to write because I let the characters make the decisions themselves as I go along. As for life in general, I never have a plan of any kind and just see what the day brings. For example, this morning I have been chasing an escaped pony with a bag of chopped apple and although I was cross that he had done a bunk, I quite enjoyed the running about and the yelling!
    I love your amazing pictures - spectacular! xx

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  6. Thank you, Joanna. I can imagine your little escapade chasing the pony. Brought a smile to my face :) I hope you are still buzzing after your book signing at Waterstones. So thrilled for you. I can't wait to get my copy of Tying Down the Lion when I visit the UK in a couple of weeks time. First stop - book shop! I could order it on amazon but I want the enjoyment of seeing it and grabbing it from the shelf :) Wishing you continued pony fun :)

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    1. Oh, how lovely - thank you so much, Nicola. I am thrilled that you will be buying it! I also love the feeling of entering a bookshop and taking the book I want from the shelf.
      Do you know which shop you will be going to, as it might be necessary to contact them to get it in stock for you first? Some independent shops have it on the shelves, but other stores might need to order it in. Hopefully, more and more will stock it as the word spreads! Thank you very much for being so supportive - I really appreciate it. xxx

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    2. I was going to go to Waterstone's in Worcester. I'll call ahead and make sure they have a stock pile, front of house before I get there :) Thank you for the tip! I tend to visit WHSmith also so if they don't have it on their shelves I'll let their buyer know they are missing out. Wishing you lots of well deserved sales, Joanna.

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    3. Ooh, that will be fantastic, Nicola! Thank you! It will be brilliant if these shops know there are readers interested in the book. I'm very grateful and I hope you have a safe trip and a lovely stay in the UK. xxx

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  7. My writing and rest of my life are both planned in outline form, but I make up the rest as I go along.

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    1. Sounds like a good working/living approach. Thank you for commenting Patsy.

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  8. Your night out sounds just glorious, Nicola. Mostly the structure of our lives requires the fun to be fitted in and let's face it, there's a lot of pleasure to be had in looking forward to a special outing. Having said that, spontaneous fun has a joy all of its own. Your description of your lovely night out has made me feel I ought to follow suit!

    PS Your fireworks photos are just perfect. I know from experience how hard it is to get a good picture of a firework.

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Susanna. The trick of the fireworks - which I have never been able to capture before - was to video it and then freeze frame on the computer. It could be better but my skills of photographing are slowly improving :) All the best.

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  9. I'm still in that planner phase. Trying to be more spontaneous.
    That was a good idea to just head out and see the fireworks!

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    1. I can only be more spontaneous now that I don't have so many commitments. Thank you for popping over to comment, Alex.

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  10. I am not a spontaneous person at all! I wish I could be. I agree--life's best moments are unplanned. I need to force myself to do things like that every now and then.

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    1. The force is with you Stephanie :) Couldn't resist that one :) Wishing you a productive week. Thank you for stopping by to comment. Always lovely 'to see' you.

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  11. Looks like a great evening, Nicola.

    Although I plan- tried the spontaneity and it eventually drove me nuts- so I reverted to the plan, but I do allow flexibility within it.

    Every writer is different, so if spontaneity works best for you, then go with
    it. :-)

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    1. Flexibility is good. I wish I were more flexible physically as well as mentally :) Maybe I should take a yoga class! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, Carol. Lovely 'to see' you. Wish you a lovely week.

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