Posted tagged ‘focus’

What do lackluster board meetings and writer’s block have in common?

October 14, 2009

The answer may be a cure. 

Living most of my waking hours in corporate America, I’ve seen all sorts of ideas to stimulate creativity and productivity in meetings.  One that has been a fad lately is meeting toys – small objects that can be plied, twisted, shaped, and otherwise manipulated during said meetings.  They supposedly stimulate creativity.  Hm, maybe.  I’ve tried it.  I also tend to play with things during meetings myself.  In my office I keep a deck of cards (amateur magician), which I shuffle and cut and practice the tools of the prestidigitation trade while talking business. 

So what does this have to do with writer’s block?  Here’s my theory:

Occupying parts of your brain that deal in procedure (much of which happens subconsciously – ever arrive at work only to realize you don’t really recall driving there completely?) can free other parts of your brain to be creative.  Basis in fact?  Perhaps – harkening back to my degree in Biomedical Engineering many years ago, I can’t remember all the details.  What I do know is that one of the most productive creative periods I’ve had was during a nine hour drive to vacation this year, during which I outlined my entire second volume of the trilogy I’m writing.  My hands, eyes and subconscious parts of my process-driven mind were occupied staying on the road, watching for signs, monitoring traffic.  The creative parts flourished.

Am I crazy?  Perhaps, but I will be remembering that going forward.  When those times hit me, as they do all writers, my panacea will possibly be a long drive or a deck of cards.  Let me know what works for you!

Telling a Tale when you have a full-time job

October 11, 2009

Writers, when do you write?  God has blessed me with a wonderful job, but working nine to five, and then some (sometimes quite a bit more “then some”) leaves little time for writing.  What spare time I have is spent with the family or trying to recuperate from the daily stresses.

I’m blessed in more ways than one however.  I take public transportation to and from work each day.  In Pittsburgh, we have the ‘T’, or the Port Authority Transit – think subway, trolly, light rail, or whatever the nomenclature of your particular city.  It provides me with between thirty and forty-five minutes a day to focus on my writing, where it is very difficult to do anything else.

I’m an early-bird, which means I’m on the T between five and six in the morning, when it is not standing room only.  This means I can be sure to get one of the ‘good seats’ that facilitates writing.

It doesn’t seem like much, and I envy those writers who, for a living, spend their days bent over their keyboards.  But for me, I look forward to those few minutes when I can focus and write.

If I took the bus or had to drive, this couldn’t be possible, so again, I am blessed with that daily habit of commute-writing.  Of course, there’s more to the story, which I will save for my next post.  How does one write while riding on a trolly?