Sunday, July 11, 2010

How Ironing Can Help Your Writing

I still iron my husband's shirts. He wears long-sleeve cotton shirts for work. I wash them in cold water, hang them up to dry so they don't shrink, and iron them. People sometimes make funny comments, as if in this age of polyester and permanent press and dry cleaners "why would anybody still iron?"

Well, truth be told, I sort of like to iron. It's one of those mindless chores that allows your mind to wander. I start with the collars, then I press each sleeve, front and back. Then I start on the main part of the shirt. As I move the material around the ironing board, set the iron down, and press the next part, my mind moves on to other things.

Like my work-in-progress. Like maybe how I could fit in another scene between my two main characters during that long stretch between chapter six and chapter sixteen. Like how I could bring out the mother's personality more, or the conflict between the boy and his dad.

You've heard how people get their best ideas in the shower, or while driving, or walking or doing the dishes. It's funny how our brains work, isn't it?

If you think and dwell and worry about something, you can't seem to untangle the knot in your mind. But if you just start in on some mindless activity, like ironing, your mind somehow frees itself up from all that thinking, and just goes to some amazing creative places on its own.

So try it some time. Pull out those wrinkly cotton clothes, fire up your iron to HOT, and press away. Who knows what might happen?

Does this work for you? How many of you still actually iron? Do you have other mindless activities that help you get ideas?


Anonymous said...

Hey Linda I am also a person who enjoys Ironing. I even carry a iron and ironing board in the truck. I do not use it as often as I would like to but I have it if I need it. I agree as I am ironing I get a lot of thinking accomplished! I sure get teased a lot because I like to iron but I just shrug it off.
Nice Blog
Linda Caffee

Linda Benson said...

Thank you, Ms. Caffee! Maybe we can start a club. Ironers Anonymous. or Ironers R Us. My grandmother had a big machine with a roller (a mangle)and she pressed everything in it, even the sheets. Glad I don't have to do that.

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

If you like to iron, you are always welcome over at my house! : ) I HATE to iron and usually end up with a mountain of clothes before I make myself tackle it. Unfortunately, I don't get many writing ideas while ironing. If i did, I might like it more.

Linda Benson said...

Cynthia - I have to admit, I often let my ironing pile overflow before I get after it. But once I start, it's so soothing to the mind. Peaceful. Yeah, I'm probably weird :=)

Danni said...

Ha. Haven't ironed in about almost 3 years now. That activity ceased entirely when I ceased to be a HPP (highly paid professional) -lol. Can't say I miss it one bit, either. :-)
My particular mundane task that allows me to mull over things, clear my mind, and plan ahead is pantry cleaning and organizing. Something so simple as moving cans of food around and vacumming up cobwebs does wonders for my frequently muddled brain. :-)
Love the picture you included, though that poor lass looks a bit stressed at the job that lies ahead...