I have not been very diligent about publishing these days, as you may have noticed. After deciding it was clearly time to get back into the groove and opening my WordPress page a headliner cleverly caught my eye. The title suggested something about finding the right “environment for writing”, which has recently been a factor in my slacking productivity. Closer inspection reveled not a post about the physical or even emotional environment for writing, but instead some updates about recent changes in the blog formats. Fine, okay, but not the serendipitous moment I had hoped for.
Environment and comfort have a substantial influence on both my desire and my ability to write. If I’m at a computer, I’m much more productive using my laptop where I can move about, sit on my bed or slouch back in a recliner. I can even go sit on the porch and listen to the sounds of the neighborhood for inspiration. Sitting at a desk is not only physically uncomfortable, but feels formal and constrained; it feels like work.
Sometimes, the keyboard itself takes on a sense of sterility, a sanitized expression of the thoughts and feelings that demand a natural flow. I find this keyboard frigidity to be more common in my generation than in younger writers. People of my age group remember the pre-computer days when typing meant typing…on a typewriter; slow, laborious, prone to error, fading ribbon and sticking keys. Making corrections involved slapping a glob of noxious white-out on the misspelled word or slipping a small piece of correction paper in the carriage and typing over the error. By the time this process was complete, the creative train had left the station. There was also a good possibility the writer would be left with a somewhat disorienting buzz resulting from the inhalation of white out vapors.
Since my laptop has been in the “shop” undergoing repair, I have found myself spending more time writing by hand. I do journal by hand on an almost daily basis, my personal thoughts, dreams and out-of-the-blue moments of inspiration. Journaling in this way is a pleasant, almost meditative process. It is also somewhat liberating. Within the protected space of my own personal journal, filled with my sketches and doodles and random ideas, my thoughts flow freely and the words play on the page like happy children. Even my handwriting is reflective of my current mood, sometimes loose and flowing, sometimes small and cramped with frustration and uncertainty. Either way the process encourages an unrestrained pattern of ideas that easily takes on a life of its own.
A while back I was graced with the opportunity to be interviewed by Janet Riehl, poet, musician, storyteller and founder of Riehl Life: Village Wisdom for the 21st Century http://www.riehlife.com/. In this interview I discussed my practice of “word doodling” as I call it as a bit of fun which can alleviate the pressure of taking ones self and one’s writing too seriously, therefore freeing the creative process.
I’m hopeful that having had a solid week of play, no pressure to produce blog posts or submit to some judgmental, finger shaking, inner critic I will return to a steady pattern of committed writing (and posting) with a fresh breath of inspiration.
What are other people’s means of stimulating creativity and putting the fun back into your work?
Copyright 2011, Jennifer Hazard/Nanakoosa
Image courtesy of Relics and Collectibles http://s399.photobucket.com/home/relicsandcollectables/index