Friday, October 29, 2010

The Thinking Chair
A post in honor of Picture Book Idea Month - November 2010 #PiBoIdMo

Productivity is everything. I produce therefore I am.

But before I can crank it out, I've got to think it out.

Thinking looks a lot like not doing anything at all. I know this because I've been caught thinking more than once in my life. It wasn't pretty. "Are you okay?" "Why don't you go out and do something?" A couple of years of that and even the most intrepid thinkers join the ranks of the doers and start accomplishing something. Anything. And learn to think on the sly while getting stuff done.

But sometimes I really need to sit down and think. I know my last post was "Stand Up and Get to Work" but this is different. This is about sitting down and getting those ideas that will lead to work.

I set up a chair just for thinking. It's a little kooky but it's working so I'm sharing. Don't worry about going out and buying a chair just for thinking. You probably have something on hand that would work out just fine. Look in the garage or attic. Shopping for the perfect chair would only serve as procrastination. Plus spending money might set up an obstacle to sitting down and doing some serious thinking.

My Thinking Chair is just a canvas lawn chair souped-up with some pillows. The great thing about a lawn chair is that I can fold it up and prop it against the wall when I need the space.

Having this place devoted to thinking helps me focus and validates the process. When it's time to start, I sit myself in the Thinking Chair. I keep a pad nearby. I keep coffee nearby. I think. I calm down and don't become overwhelmed by what is or isn't happening. This chair is where I give myself the chance to work things out. It only takes a few minutes of thought to fuel a good work session. Once I've allowed myself the time to think, to figure out what I want or need to do at that moment, I'm free. My mind is allowed to work. It's amazing what is already in our brains. Thinking is like rummaging through drawers and finding all kinds of great things we forgot we had. Sometimes I'm amused at what my brain spits out when I let it take over, when I get out of it's way with all my demands to get something done. It's like a patient friend that guides me, "You knew it all along. You just needed a chance to put it together."

The Thinking Chair is like a flag to alert the entourage: when they see me in it, they know that short of a fire or gunshot wound, I am not to be disturbed. This is serious business: brain cells are synapsing perhaps even reproducing. (I don't know if that's true but it could sound impressive in an authoritative tone of voice.)

Thinking gets a bad rap. It resembles sleep or spacing out. You run the risk of being called "lazy". Ugh. The "L" Word. But dare to sit in your Thinking Chair and think.

I think therefore I am therefore I produce.

I want to wish everyone a great Picture Book Idea Month. Here's to many thoughts sprouting lots of ideas (at least thirty!). And I want to thank Tara Lazar for thinking it up and bringing it all together for a second year.