No, not my Binky! by Catharine Bramkamp

No, not my Binky! By Catharine BramkampLet’s welcome back monthly columnist Catharine Bramkamp as she shares with us: “No, not my Binky!” Enjoy!


Noun. binky (plural binkies) (informal, childish) A stuffed animal, blanket, or toy that a small child is more attached to than any other, and often sleeps with.

If you are reading Writers Fun Zone, you are up on all the writing hacks:

  • Show up every day to write, at roughly the same time, because the Muse keeps appointments.
  • Protect your writing time and treat it like a job.
  • Jettison negative people from your life. If you belong to a club or have a group of friends who are killing your creativity, leave. Have you left yet? Of course you have.
  • Take up an alternative hobby, if you write, play music. If you play music, dance. If you dance, keep a journal.
  • Sign up for a community college extension class in the theory and uses of Greek pottery, because learning something new and weird can be a tremendously effective way to feed your creativity.
  • Break down your goals into manageable chunks of time and effort.
  • Keep a journal.
  • Deep study a new subject.
  • Read. Everything.
  • Sleep well.

What has never made the productive, creative hack list: spend more time on the phone.

This oversight seems wrong considering how deeply we love our phones, how we need our phones.

There are friends to tweet, Facebook FOMO to nurture, puppies to video, kitten to filter to make them extra cute. Why wouldn’t an afternoon liking FB posts be considered time well spent?

If you are a Millennial and certainly if you are a Digital Native, you have never known life without cell phones. An afternoon without our phones can seem like a night without our binkies.

But an afternoon without the phone can produce surprisingly creative dividends.

I left my phone at home.

On one of the last summer mornings of the year, I left my phone at home.  On purpose. I climbed into our truck and enjoyed the scenery, unable to follow Google Maps as we bounced towards the Yuba river down a very long one-way dirt road to Purdon’s Crossing.

The trail from the road to the river requires concentration. I had to focus on where to place my feet, estimate what rocks will roll under my heel, and quickly identify bushes so I wouldn’t break my fall by grabbing a handful of poison oak.

Because we couldn’t access Yelp on the best river experiences, we had to take our chances that the easiest access was, by necessity, the best.

Once we gained the river’s edge, we did what everyone does at the river or the lake or the beach — nothing.


I did nothing.

Some people were making videos of the rushing water. Some were taking selfies; some were stacking rocks and instagramming the results.

I did none of those.

I enjoyed the water’s rush, I listened to the trees, peed in the bushes, you know, all that communing with nature stuff.

Not since my mythical childhood was a summer day so perfect. Like the Grinch’s lament about Christmas, Summer was possible without maps, reviews, filters, posts, enviable locations, and brief moments of FOMO.   Summer just came. There was no arguing with the sun.

The drive home.

On the drive home, I relished the wind in my face and messy hair because I was in no danger of submitting to a casual photograph. I ate a hamburger without first photographing it. Not once did I need to suck in my stomach and pose just so.

The next day I was ready to spend the usual three-hour appointment with the Muse to eek out my 1,000 word a day goal. This day I finished up 1,000 words in 45 minutes. Turns out doing nothing was time well spent.

Get a jump on your own writing hacks, take a class! Enrollment closes September 30:



Catharine BramkampCatharine Bramkamp is the co-producer of Newbie Writers Podcast that focuses on newer writers and their concerns. She is a successful writing coach, Chief Storytelling Officer, and author of a dozen books including the Real Estate Diva Mysteries series, and The Future Girls series. She holds two degrees in English and is an adjunct university professor. After fracturing her wrist, she has figured out there is very little she is able to do with one hand tied behind her back.

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