Being a writer can be a very solitary adventure. You spend so much of your time alone and focused on your projects. Yet, being a writer also requires you to live life. Being confined to an computer everyday won’t give you the experiences, ideas, and even research that you need in order to be a successful writer.
Last weekend I made a conscious effort not to focus on my outline I am currently working on. Usually one weekend, even though reserved for family time, I will throw an hour or two in to work on writing while everyone else is sleeping. But not last weekend. I had reached the point in my outlining where I was terribly frustrated that I could get it to to work out. So, I didn’t even think about it. I wanted to allow my subconscious to work on it.
And by doing that I allowed myself to focus on other things. And that was living life and looking at things in a different way.
One of the things I did that weekend was visit where my husband worked. Being the creative person that I am, whenever my husband or son told me a story about their job (they work at the same place), I created this mental image of it in my head. I had this idea of what their place of employment looked like. When my husband said about going to the open house where he worked, I was curious to see how well my mental image compared to the actual thing. And I was so off. But this allowed me to see that everyone has a different image when they read or hear a story.
And I got some great ideas for a few characters while there. And maybe even a setting for future novels. So even though I had taken a break from my writing, my brain still thought about things in term of being a writer.
Another thing that happened that weekend was that a friend ended up in the emergency room and I went to pick him up. I spent a few hours sitting in the waiting room while he was getting checked out. And since it wasn’t expected I didn’t have a book and my phone was almost dead. This meant that I needed to occupy myself in some other way.
Of course, I found a magazine and read through it. One of the magazines, and I can’t think of the name of it for the life of me, had a slightly comical way to look at self-help things. And one article talked about whether a person used their left or right side of their brain. I quickly took the quiz and discovered that I am actually pretty balanced although leaned a little more to the right side.
But once I had finished with the magazine, I made the conscious effort not to read and just take in my surroundings. And boy was it interesting. I watched the other people who were also sitting in the waiting room. I quickly found myself asking a lot of questions. Like the person who came out from the back and pulled two of the family members aside to talk. While a third person sat there all alone, almost in tears. Could it be a family rift which isn’t being worked out even though there obviously was someone in the back room they all cared for? Or was the one who pulled the other two aside just simply talking about something that didn’t even pertain to the reason they were in the waiting room?
As I drove home from the hospital, I found myself reflecting on that experience and discovered again that my writer brain had taken over while I was sitting there. It created a story about a scene that I was witnessing. Maybe it was a correct scene or maybe not, but I was still working as a writer.
I learned a lot about myself as a writer that weekend. That even though I was giving myself the weekend off from my project, my writer brain was still going strong. And to be honest, by that Monday I was feeling refreshed and eager to get back to my writing. Sometimes you just need to live life and not focus on your writing.
Do you ever find yourself not really living life because you are so focused on your writing?
Until next time…. Keep writing!