I’ve had a little trouble hard boiling eggs over the past few months. That should be simple, right? Not that it’s a daily pastiime or anything, but once I just didn’t cook them long enough. ‘Nuff said. Once I probably cooked them too long because the shells were stuck on with some kind of eggy super glue.
Last night, they were perfect.
I boiled the water to a roll, gently plunked in the eggs, covered the pot, took it off the heat and walked away.
I picked up my daughter, ran an errand, made a salad, checked my email and fixed the rest of dinner.
I lifted the lid and crossed my fingers. I dipped in a slotted spoon and drew out the eggs one by one.
Perfection. No goop. No sticky shell.
Sometimes you have to walk away from something that should be easy – because the more you overthink it and the more you try – the more it Just. Doesn’t. Work.
That happens with writing sometimes. Try to tweak that one sentence. Find that right word. Slam dunk that first graf. It should be easy, but it’s not. You boil it too long and the words stick to the page – or the screen – and won’t move around or do what you want. Or, maybe you’re impatient and your thoughts ooze all over and it’s a mess — and not what you intended.
Sometimes the best thing to do is put the lid on it and walk away. Do something else, write something else. Watch TV. Sing a song. Do the laundry (HA).
When you come back, chances are, everything will fall into place (eh hem, the title of my next novel is: Falling Into Place). You’ll sit down, take the lid off, and the answers will be clear, or at least they’l flow. And the abilitiy to do this will have happened while you were busy doing something else.
It’s something so simple – but sometimes hard to remember.