Stretching keeps us from growing bored with ourselves and prevents from our writing from growing stagnant--both with words on paper and in our attitudes toward those words.
The thing that occurred to me this past week was how easy it is to fall back into what we've always done. It takes a determined effort to change. Have you ever gone to the salon for a makeover - a new do - and you get a cut and style and you feel like a whole new person? How fun and refreshing is that? But then -- you have to wash and fix your own hair the next day - and it ends up looking the same way it always does. Why is that? Because you went right back to fixing it the same way you always did, instead of changing up. You probably needed a new product, a different curling iron - or a changed method.
We do the same thing when we're critiqued by someone and want to employ the technique they suggested or when we hear a fabulous workshop or a market tidbit. We have great intentions, but we don't change tools - we go right back to the way we did it before.
In order to implement recent changes, I made myself simple bulleted lists (I love bulleted lists!) and printed out one to hang over my PC and one for the front page of my project binder. That way each time I sit down to work I look at the list and remind myself of the scope I want to achieve with this project.
As for Independence Day: we declined invitations and hints to invite ... and salvaged an abandoned farm for barn doors and garden plants. Our finds took two pickup loads, and then we spent the rest of the day planting and finding places to store stuff. In the PM some of our kids brought food and grilled for us, then we watched the local fireworks displays. I think our neighbors are in the fireworks business. Everyone up and down our block sets out their lawn chairs to watch. This is the third year they've done it since we've been here, and we haven't been disappointed yet.