Here we are again, second day of the year and I’m currently in the lecture hall/conference room biding my time until I meet with my mentor from last semester for lunch. I’m trying not to be nervous.
Hey, here is something interesting… I went to a great lecture this morning and the person giving the lecture talked about writing (of course) and about experience and inspiration and sublimation. The whole thing was really great and gave me a lot of good ideas to jump from for topics that I would like to explore, but one thing struck me as interesting. She told a bit of a story about a writer who had a job a far distance from where he lived. He had a three hour train ride each day to work, and then the same back home again. She said that he would use that time each day to write and that space, and the sounds and smells and the motion of the train became physically attached to the mental state of his writing. He began writing a novel in that space and that was what part of each day in that space was dedicated to.
Then he got a new job, closer to home and didn’t have to ride the train anymore. He found after a short time that he could no longer write in other spaces. The man had a novel to finish and could not write without the motion and sound of the train. He ended up taking another trip on that train and tape recording the ride.
He found a space in his house and bought a rocking chair and listened to that recording to get back into that space. He was able to finish his novel by doing that. That’s pretty interesting, right?!
I don’t have any way to verify that is true without going to the lecture reference/sources, but I feel that it is. I have experienced this strange phenomenon before. I used to try and write in the evenings and that was ok, but not ideal and I was often too tired to form thoughts that amounted to anything.
I would work and come home and take care of the kids and house and by the time I had a spare minute before bed, my tank was empty. Then Last year (well in 2016), when I quit my job, I suddenly had all kinds of time. I was able to exercise more and take care of the kids and house with lots of time to spare. That’s when I started to go to go to the gym right after dropping the kids off at school. That’s when I started typing in the Evernote app on my phone. That’s when my writing process became (at least partially) physically attached to the rhythm in my steps.
I get in that space now, and my mind transitions easily to the writing function. I attribute this phenomenon more to the rhythm of my movements than sights or smells or atmosphere, because I can get in that same headspace with such ease on the treadmill at my new house. I believe in the phenomenon because now, when I try to write in other spaces, I often struggle.
I sit down at my desk in front of my laptop and I think about work. My mind remains on my work there, and the transition away from project tasks and emails and documents and communication is a challenge. In that space, my mind wants to stay with work.
I’ve tried to take my laptop to other spaces in my house, like the bed where I’ve written quite a bit in the past. That doesn’t work for me anymore because of my ongoing struggle with fatigue and the moment I hit the bed, sleep starts to come over me. Frankly, I have he sake problem with reading in bed or working with hand writing or editing in paper notebooks.
I have also tried taking my laptop and notebooks to other spaces in my house and that’s better, but not quite as good/fast/easy as being on an elliptical machine or treadmill. The good news us, I’ve been so productive and healthy the last year and a half, it’s been great. The fact that I can multitask like that is a gift. Of course typing is much slower on a phone keyboard (especially the way I type) so I’m probably not as productive as I could be if I’d found my “happy place”, say, with my laptop in a coffee shop or another room in my house.
Mind you, I’ve never been able to do any editing that way, as that’s a whole different beast. I just find it fascinating the way I have experienced this “thing” that was discussed in lecture today first hand. It validated my experience in a way. That’s always good, you know, to not feel like you are the only one.
Obvi, I can still write other places, or this blog post would not exist. And on that note, it’s time to switch gears again and move on to the next thing.
Gimme Some Space,