The Pursuit for QUICKER Instincts *because slow snail-like reflexes don't make for good superheros...or writers*
You know that saying, "Fight or Flight?" What if I happen to be neither. What if I'm more of a stand-still-with-eyes-wide-open-and-do-nothing kind of gal?
I have the reflexes of a snail. Seriously. Okay, maybe the reflexes of a deer in headlights. It's insane and drives my husband absolutely crazy.
I can't help it if I'm not quick on my feet and can't make snappy decisions on the fly (do people say 'on the fly' anymore?).
I've always known I've had this problem, but it wasn't until my trip to The Big Apple that my horrible reflexes became an issue.
We were walking along, enjoying the views, when cars started honking. Now, New York is known for its horn honking, but this was different. I caught my attention and when I looked to see what the commotion was all about, I found a small child running in circles in the middle of the busy street (he got scared and didn't know what to do and panicked).
His family was on the opposite side of the street, looking at a map, and wasn't paying attention to the youngster (if I'm going to say 'on the fly' why not top off the fact that I'm getting old and say 'youngster' too?).
Notice that I can tell you about his family--mom, dad, grandparents. I can even tell you that they were of a Asian decent. I noticed they were looking at a map. I picked ALL that up in a few seconds.
But why in those few seconds didn't I run into that street and scoop up that boy? Why did I have to take in the scene first? I DON'T KNOW. That's what I'm getting at. I should have jumped into Superlady/Spidercat/Batwoman mode and pulled that child to safety. THAT'S WHAT ADULTS DO! (I'm not good with superhero names, but anything had to be better than what I did).
Speaking of that, want to know what I did instead?
Instead of whisking the child to safety, I yelled, "Whose kid is that?" (To be fair, I yelled it really loud).
Yeah, exactly! I suck as an adult human being.
Everything turned out well, I must say. The child, on his own, went running in tears back to his parents who picked him up and hugged him. Thank goodness for the taxi cab drivers who stopped, which isn't something New York taxi drivers tend to do. We could've been witnessing something tragic.
My heart stopped pounding. My boys, who watched the whole thing, were glad the kid was safe, but this incident has stuck with me for days.
Why didn't I leap over the curb and get that kid to safety? What is wrong with me? How have my own children lived as long as they have when they have a mother like this? Beats me.
I think the biggest reason as to why I'm so slow has to be FEAR.
I'm afraid of doing the wrong thing.
What if I'm quick to act and I screw everything up, or say the wrong thing, or offend someone unintentionally? I'm too busy thinking out every scenario in my head first that I end up doing nothing at all. It's not a good way to live.
I've decided to do a bit of research to see if this is something that can be improved upon. Can I overcome fear so that I can go with my gut instinct more often? I surely hope so, because not only would it help me when it comes to saving kids from being mowed over by crazy taxi drivers, but I think it could improve a lot of areas in my life in which I'm slow to react or make a decision.
I'm thinking about myself as a writer as well as a human being. I write slow. I can't help it. I mull over details to the point that the story will come to a grinding halt until the answer is revealed to me. It sure does put a damper on getting new books out to my readers. I really want to fix this too.
I want to save kids from being hit by cars, and I want to write more stories and I want to write them faster! Is that too much to ask?
Here are a few articles that I've read about this issue, and I want to pass them along in case there is something there that might be of a benefit to you. Each one had something that spoke to me, and instead of trying to paraphrase them, I think it would be better for you to look them over yourself and see what inspires you:
STOP LETTING FEAR HOLD YOU BACK AND START DOING WHAT YOU WANT "Anything worthwhile that you can do, will likely scare you."
TRUST YOUR GUT A collection of instinct related articles by Psychology Today
HOW TO HEAR YOUR INTUITION WHEN YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO “Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.” ~William S. Burroughs
WHY GUT FEELINGS ARE A WRITER'S SECRET WEAPON Most writers have better instincts than we may think we do. We just have to learn to trust them.
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. "I’m definitely not saying that workbooks and guidebooks to writing aren’t valuable tools in a writer’s workbox. They certainly can be. But I also think that somewhere along the way, we have to let go of a cerebral focus on the rules and trust our instincts and our hearts."
What about you? Do you trust your instincts? Are you good "on the fly?" Is instinct something that can be learned or am I doomed to be that lone deer in the headlights? How do you let go of the fear? Any and all advice welcomed!