Nov 1 2010

The Adaptive Katydid

Melissa Crytzer Fry

I love discovering new things. So, when the striped wings of an unidentifiable insect caught my eye in the dirt yesterday, I ran for the camera. That’s probably of no surprise to anyone who knows me or reads my blog.

But what may surprise you, as it did me (once I figured out what the insect was), is the adaptive nature of this Creosote Bush katydid.

This Creosote Bush Katydid was resting in the dirt by my home. What a cool, adaptive insect. Click to enlarge.

Apparently this species of Katydid is a recent evolutionary wonder, having been prompted by the arrival of the Creosote Bush in the Sonoran Desert some 11,000 years ago. When the Creosote Bush spread, it became a viable meal for lots of herbivores. But it does offer some challenges: high resin concentrations, anti-feeding phytochemicals, low-moisture, leathery leaves, and unique colors and textures.

This means some feeders have not only had to adapt to eat the Creosote Bush, but also have adapted their colors and patterns to match. This katydid is one such adaptive grazer!

For Writers: Adaptation is an interesting concept for writers, as I think we are constantly adapting and evolving in our craft at both a macro and micro level. We’re constantly adapting to macro-level market changes – i.e. these days, we’re not just writers; we’re also expected to be marketers of our work. That means we are generally expected to participate in social media, write blogs and understand general business principles that will help drive sales. And we’re supposed to be thinking creatively about how we can adopt new technology (think iPad) and add it to our arsenal of storytelling skills.

But in addition to that, I think we adapt at a micro level, daily, finding the right schedule/routine that works best for our writing. What tweaks and adaptations have you made to your writing life that make you more productive?

Have you found that your creative juices flow more in the morning, afternoon or the evening? Is it easier to write your blogs over the weekend so you aren’t pulled from your novel writing during the week? Do you only schedule blog-surfing once a week? Do you limit your Twitter and Facebook time? How do you juggle your paying work (or full-time job) with your creative work? Half day creative/half day paid? Or every other day? Have you discovered inspirational triggers that allow you to dig right in to your writing? What works for you? Or … are you continually adapting?

To be honest, I’m still trying to figure out what works best for me. What I have learned is that morning outdoor exercise is hugely inspirational for my writing. And I’ve learned that blogging, while also inspirational, is best done over the weekend so that I’m not waylaid from my novel writing. The rest – best time of day, how much time to spend on the various parts of a writer’s life, and how best to juggle the paid and creative work – I’m still adapting to. What about you?

Thanks to go to for the Creosote Bush Katydid information!

8 Responses to “The Adaptive Katydid”

  • Paul White Says:

    Hi Melissa, thanks for another interesting article. I find nothing flows creatively or otherwise without my morning cup of coffee 🙂 Once I’m sparked up then nothing stops me. Seriously though, I believe a brisk walk in fresh air is the best ingredient for creative thinking and subsequent work.
    All the best, Paul


  • M. McGriff Says:

    This was awesome to read!

    For me to truly be productive with my novel, I have to schedule all of my other writing and related activities done earlier in the week so that for the rest of the week and weekend, I can concentrate on my novel, knowing everything else is done! Weird, I know but it keeps me from getting distracted!


  • Rachna Chhabria Says:

    Melissa, for a change I did not get scared of a creature on your blog. I could even be persuaded to touch the Katydid. 🙂

    I like writing in the morning when my brain is fresh. In the afternoon I read books and blogs and evening time its back to writing. Like you I need my daily early morning workout session. It helps the creative juices flow.

    I am still trying to find a writing schedule that works perfectly for me.


  • Melissa Says:

    Paul – I have enough vices that I decided I would stay away from coffee (knowing I’d love it since I love coffee-flavored ice cream). But, yes, fresh outdoor air is great for productivity in ANY field. Thanks for the comments.

    M.McGriff – So glad you enjoyed my post. I like your “write the paid stuff early” and save the “fun stuff” for the latter part of the week mantra. There are lots of people who say you have to write EVERY day to get in a groove. Do you find it difficult to pick back up with the creative after being away from it for a few days?

    Rachna – Glad this one didn’t make you squeamish! I’m still trying to figure out what pattern is best for me. I tried writing blogs and doing my reading the first part of the day, but then something always came up second part of the day to derail my novel plans. Early writing might be my ticket, too. By doing so, I would be sending myself a subliminal message that WRITING is the priority, the first thing I do… and that IS how I want to prioritize things.


    M. McGriff Reply:

    I don’t find it hard to pick up my creative works. I have a special playlist on my IPOD that I listen to that gets me right into the “zone” and I can write away!


  • Victoria Dixon Says:

    Melissa, I just finished talking with my husband about this. I’ve got to find a way to organize my life or there won’t be time for writing. There barely is now. Wasn’t at all this morning. I don’t want to give up blogging, but that and my email volume takes up so much of my time right now. I’ve been treading water all year and I’m tired. I feel like I’m drowning sometimes. Sigh.


    Melissa Reply:

    I struggle with the SAME thing… There’s no harm in blogging only once a week, or every other week. I think readers and writers understand the demands placed on writers these days, and that you simply can’t do it all. I’ve just got to DISCIPLINE myself to stop doing the ‘easy’ stuff first (i.e. procrastinate through blogging, surfing, e-mailing), when I really, really do want to write, first and foremost. Good luck. If I find any tips or things that work personally for me, I’ll share!


  • Bryan Says:

    That’s beautiful! I’ve never seen one like that before.


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