Sunday, January 24, 2010

What do sitting, reading, and staring out the window have in common?

Sitting at the computer is the one place I really need to be if I'm ever going to finish my novels. B.I.C.--butt-in-chair time is obviously important. If I'm not there, doing it, it certainly isn't going to get done.

Reading? Reading about writing, reading other people's writing, reading my own stuff with an editorial eye--heck, I'll read nearly anything. Any magazine within reach at a doctor's office, a newspaper, a booklet--some are better examples of good writing than others, or course. But I recently picked up some really good advice from a very poorly organized book.

Staring out the window? I read recently (I cannot remember where) that Woody Allen can't work in a room with a window. I don't know that it's true. I can't work in a room without one. I once wrote all the publication materials for a nonprofit organization, where I had a cubicle in the middle of the building. Not a window within my line of sight. Then, they shuffled us around and I worked in a cubby by a big window. I figure my production during that period (I was later moved back, doggone it) was up at least 30 percent.

I now work in a home office on the second floor, looking out into the tree tops lining our backyard. I see the sparrows on the telephone wires, squirrels on the fence, cat on the shed roof. Without that view to stop and stare it, I don't know that I'd ever get anything done. Instead of distracting me, it gives my mind a nature break and re-energizes me as I sort through my ideas.

So sit, read, and stare a bit. More about staring out the window later. I am convinced they'll all help you become a better writer.

1 comment:

  1. I like staring because eventually my eyes kind of blur and staring turns into deep thought.