We bought two bird feeders, filled them up with bird feed, and hung them from branches.
The birds knew what to do.
It was amazing. It didn’t take long before it looked like a Bird-Mart Supercenter. There were more birds than I could imagine sitting on the rim of the bird feeder. A few more birds would hover around the edge. A couple of birds would fall off and be replaced before they could recover. Another bird sat on the top. Other birds sat on nearby branches or the fence top, waiting their turn.
After a while, birds found spilled bird feed on the ground. Eventually, there were more birds underneath the bird feeder than there were above it. This may not have been the wisest course of action, considering that the birds above were neither potty-trained nor did they wear diapers. But perhaps eating was more important.
Perhaps birds recognize bird feeders. Maybe a small gathering of birds suggests there is food and attracts others. However it worked, news spread quickly.
It seems that some birds also knew how to signal for danger. Every once in a while, all of the birds that were eating would suddenly fly away, except for one bird who came in to eat. Perhaps that was the bird who cried wolf.
A huge block of bird feed quickly disappeared. We enjoyed having the birds visit, but if we feed them every day, we might be spending more money on bird feed that we spend on our own food. So we decided just to attract the birds on the weekend.
So what does this have to do with writing?
Tweet tweet. Chirp chirp. H-o-o-t . . . h-o-o-t.
The sounds. Pleasant sounds from happy birds. Not waking to an annoying beep beep beep. A sweet melody from nature.
And a beautiful sight of birds in the yard. Most of the birds of a single feather, but some other feathers mixed together, too. An occasional red or blue feather among black and brown feathers.
Busy birds. Pecking away. Flying. Walking. Chirping.
Wonderful sights and sounds.
It was bird food for a writer’s thoughts. What a wonderful way to write.
Sometimes noises are distracting. And there is usually noise in this house. A little girl who plays nonstop. A television that is often on. Weedwackers and lawnmowers outside. Noises are common here.
So writing amid pleasant sounds was a refreshing change.
The art of writing isn’t as simple as sitting down and spitting out ideas in the form of words strung together.
Somebody who suddenly decides to try writing first thinks, “Where will I write?” You need a comfortable place to do this. An office. A man-cave. A girl-cave. Some kind of writing retreat.
This chair is too short. That chair is too soft.
This monitor is too small. That monitor is too dim.
Just the right chair, just the right keyboard, just the right mouse, just the right monitor. Even a mousepad on which to rest the wrist.
Spend a few hours writing on someone else’s computer at someone else’s desk. You might wonder how you could possibly write there at all. Or you might go home and wonder how you’ve ever been able to write there.
When there are distractions, silence is golden but seldom heard. When it is silent, some sounds are needed, like birds chirping or music. When the birds are out, it’s such a wonderful day outside, why stay inside and write?
Starting is the hard part. Once we settle in and begin writing, we become less fickle. We really get into the writing. We wake up at one in the morning to write some more. We write when we’re sick. We write in a motel room on a laptop with a slow internet connection. We write on the subway.
We write anywhere we can with whatever distractions there may be.
Our muses would have it no other way.
Then a day comes when you’re back in your comfortable writing spot, the birds are chirping, and you just want to sit in your desk chair and enjoy the pleasant writing conditions, casually writing.
Chris McMullen, self-published author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers