I think I’ve posted before about the writer’s supposed need for solitude and long periods of idleness or leisure, mentioned by Dorothea Brande in her classic book Becoming a Writer. I’ve never been totally sure I believed that, though more and more it does seem to be true. At least for me. She also mentions a need to spend recreational time not engaged in activities that involve words.
When I think about it, I realize that much of what I does involve words, particularly the generating of them -- either in writing my work in progress (WIP), or doing the blog or the newsletter or in answering emails. I tend to think of the blog and emails as "recreation," things I do when I'm done writing for the day, but more and more I find it difficult to that. They all pull words out of me. So does conversation. I’d read from other writers about the dangers of talking about your work in progress to others – how it tends to suck away the impetus to write it down. I just end up feeling like I am empty. That all the words have been spilled out, like water from a desert well and must somehow be replaced before I can continue.
Ms Brande addresses this in her book:
"If you want to stimulate yourself into writing, amuse yourself in wordless ways. Instead of going to a theater, hear a symphony orchestra or go by yourself to a museum; go alone for long walks or ride by yourself on a bus. If you will conscientiously refuse to talk or read, you will find yourself compensating for it to your great advantage."
I'm not sure what I think about the reading part. In the past reading has not been a problem and often stimulates me back into writing. But it's definitely true about the talking and if I do too much writing of any kind I seem to require times of not writing.
Today almost all I did was wordless -- housework, making a birthday card, shopping... I didn't try to force anything, just did what I felt like doing. It seemed to work. Even though it's late, I feel less tired now than I did when I woke up.
I'm hoping tomorrow to see more progress on the WIP.