Thursday, January 04, 2007


I have just spent the most wonderful 48 hours with some friends at their country house for the new year's holiday. We ate too much, drank too much and laughed too much. "So what?" you say. "I did that too."

Ah, but I have a difference: I also wrote nearly 2 complete chapters of my novel-in-progress. (For me, that's the writerly equivalent of being on fire.) Since we got home, I've been thinking about why this happened -- and it's not the first time I've experienced this burst of creativity.

What I've come up with -- and I'd love to hear others' takes on this -- is that my success had to do with my state of mind.

I was relaxed.

There weren't phone calls to field, emails to answer, everyone understood that I might disappear for hours on end (or maybe just a few minutes to jot down an idea or two), and because I wasn't at home, day-to-day things that grind you down and take your attention off the ball ("Honey, have you taken out the garbage yet?") just weren't happening.

I also had lots of time to just think.

I'd explained to our hosts that I had to get some writing done, and since they're artistic sorts, they understood where I was coming from. I had a nice, quiet room to work in, and I could just go off and GET IT DONE. They live in the Niagara Region of Ontario on a country road, and the weather being quite gorgeous (especially for this time of year), I could go out for a walk whenever I wanted to cogitate on a plot point or similar sticky wicket.

I could stay focused on the one thing.

Still having to work at a day gig for most of my daily bread, plus at a pretty creative-type job (graphic design), I just don't have the mental capacity to keep my story in my head. When I sit down to write at the end of the day, I'm tired but I also have to "reload" my plot and characters into that tired brain, pick up the pieces where I dropped them the night before and just "get into" the story again. Some nights that just doesn't work.

This past holiday, the only thing in my head, creatively speaking, was my novel.

The result of all three things was that I got far more done in far less time than I normally do.

I'm considering moving in with them...

1 comment:

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