tractor plowingPicture this: A novelist-farmer in Southwestern Colorado needs answers to questions that keep popping up in her current work-in-progress. She also needs to mow or disk the pasture. If she spends her time thinking about plot and characterization while sitting in front of the computer, the pasture doesn’t get done. If she spends a few hours on the tractor, the writing doesn’t get done. So what does this author decide to do? She multi-tasks by mowing or disking the pasture while mentally working on her novel.

The novelist-farmer is me, and some of the best thinking I’ve engaged in has been from the seat of a tractor. Why?

* Breathtaking views: As I wheel the tractor toward the north, the La Plata Mountains display themselves. Depending on the time of the year, and the time of day, I may see snow-capped, pink-tinted, or green-shadowed peaks.

La Plata Mts 1 copyThese mountains are a subrange of the San Juan Mountains, which are part of the Rocky Mountain chain. La Plata means “silver” in Spanish, and in the past, rich ores were taken from the mines. Since I’ve often camped and ridden in the La Platas, visualizing the “feel” of the place as it would have been in the 1800s helped me write of a similar location near Silverton, Colorado.

* Time to think: I’m pretty much a “captive audience” while driving the tractor around and around the field. I can ask question of my characters, figure out how to get from one scene to the next, and plan the next problem. Though the tractor engine is loud, ear plugs soften the noise. Quietness and solitude are my only companions, and for awhile, driving a tractor is like listening to Brain Music.

Even if you can’t work in the field from the seat of a tractor, I hope you can find time in your busy day to enjoy a breathtaking view and quietness so you can think about what really matters.



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