Turn it loose. I have heard this phrase over and over in my life, it was a favorite of my father's. Although, I heard it from those in horses and auto racing as well, the words rolling simply through conversation, usually accompanied with agreeing nods from those gathered around. It was something I had almost forgotten in my adulthood, however, until yesterday.
I sat down to write yesterday and found myself strangely frustrated. I was tired, for one, and not excited or motivated to place words to page. I flipped through a couple of ideas, would start sentences and stop, look to do other kinds of writing, even looked for distractions to fill the restless void. I have, over the course of the last couple of weeks been very busy writing. I have been doing freelance writing jobs as well as working on my novella and my Darren series and I have about boxed myself into a corner with rules, regulations, pushes to get a certain amount of writing done a day, and my perfectionist tendencies. I was frowning yesterday, staring at the place I had previously stopped writing in my novella when I decided to just forget it for the day. I was about to shut the laptop when it the thought occurred to me to just relax and write. I figured that even if I didn't like it, I could always erase it tomorrow, or edit it, but at least some basic idea would be down and I would have a feel for the story, the momentum continuing. So, I decided to, as my father would say, turn it loose. I didn't worry about grammar, word count, where the story was going, or precision, I just let it go, I let it flow. It was wonderful! The words just flowed, I fell back in love with the story and the characters, and I wrote better than I had all week. It was amazing. I haven't had so much fun writing in a long time. It was, in essence, remembering not how it is to be a writer, but what it is to be a writer, and it is glorious.
It reminded me of the time my horse and I were knee deep in competition. We had been training hard for a long time, everything from dressage, to jumping, to cross country, and it was grueling. Even though the schedule changed as to what we were doing everyday, everyday we were training and it was hard. One day, my horse was unusually cranky. He had struck out, tried to bite, and had laid his ears back in conjunction with what seemed a permanent scowl on his face. An old cowboy that was a friend of the family came into the barn and looked at my horse and then at me. He tipped his old, wise head sideways and told me I needed to-you guessed it-take my horse out and turn him loose. He suggested a nice long gallop across the summer fields and with that turned and walked away. Deciding my horse and I were too disgruntled to accomplish much else I took his advice and I was so glad I did. We galloped out across the field as fast as we could go, hair streaming, tears from the wind running down my face, hoofbeats thundering. It was, and still is, one of my favorite memories and it made all my rides afterward that much better. I made it a priority from then on to do it at least once a week.
Sometimes, it is in turning it loose and letting go that we find the path we are supposed to take, or remember who we really are. In turning it loose, we turn it on.