Give ’em a Beard!

A creative writing professor once told me, “If you’re bored with one of your characters, try giving ’em a beard.” It became a thing. When something was off in one of our stories, he’d slam the paper down and yell out “Give ’em a beard!”

Simple logic that somehow freed us up, made us stop trying so hard, and helped us recognize that every moment — every single fragment of time — is being created; that nothing’s written yet.

I’ve taken this sage advice well beyond fiction.

When I’m bored with my shirt, I turn up the collar.

When I’m bored with breakfast, I reach for the hot sauce (even if I don’t like it!).

When I’m bored with bedtime stories, I use a new voice. (Always good for a quick head-turn and a laugh from my reading companion).

The difference between bored and unbored, inspired and uninspired, is trivial, as effortless and achievable as flicking on a light switch, writing a word on a page, sprouting a whisker.

Change your morning, change your mood. Change the course of your life.

Don’t go big. Go small.

One detail.

Give ’em a beard!