With all the things going on right now, it can be difficult to just let go and muck around with words and ideas for the sake of it. I work at one of the Borders stores in Australia that has an indeterminate time left before closing, as was announced at the beginning of this week. This news is potentially stressful, because I have to find a new job soon. I have to lose all my awesome workmates. And I have to deal with the crazy that an everything-must-go sale will bring. But oddly, I’m not stressed right now. I do have a lot on my mind though.
I am pretty much done with the edits on the novel I was writing. I can only speak for myself but when there’s a lot of crazy goings on, or even when I accomplish something that takes a lot out of me, I can feel depleted at the end. I think I have a flat battery in my brain. And I have learnt the hard way that a way to fix a flat brain battery is not to force it to write. Or to stare at a blank screen willing yourself to get started on a new project. That’s not very inspiring to me, that’s just irritating. Maybe some people can do this, bash their heads against the wall again and again until something comes out that’s useful. Maybe that’s what professional writers do. But why should I? To what purpose? And aside from one collaborative project I have recently started up on, I’m doing this all for me. I don’t have a three book deal or something forcing me to sit at the computer every day that demands results or else. I am doing this because I like it. So there’s no point making myself hate it.
When I am in this space between projects, and in this flat battery stage, I tend to read more. Watch people more. Absorb information without really knowing why I am researching it. Going for aimless walks helps, so you can let your mind wander. It’s a pity it’s getting colder here in Melbourne, because there’s something so good about lying in the local park on the grass, staring up at the trees in the sunshine. I come up with good ideas there, and oddly enough solve problems with my writing that have been bugging me.
There are solutions. Mainly it’s just finding things that are enjoyable, little innocuous things that help set your mind loose so you can write a bit in your head. And it’s about growing comfortable with not ‘writing’ in the sense of typing words down, rather than just playing with ideas and notions in your head and having fun with all that possibility out there.