I'm back from a five day vacation at the cottage. Sun, sand, water, hammock and the slow, peaceful days that stretch ahead with nothing more pressing on my mind than what to have for lunch. Sounds like a perfect recipe forgetting a good chunk of my WIP written, right? After all, I had no day job to rush to, no appointments, no being pulled in seven different directions that is my life on a daily basis. Yup. Perfect recipe for writing.
Except, sometimes, recipes don't quite turn out the way you expect. Sure, I lay in the hammock, I stared into a beautiful blue sky and gazed at a peacful lake. The Kids were doing their swimming, kayaking, watching movies/reading thing. So then why did I come back with only a couple of chapters outlined instead of 10,000 words written?
I concluded (on the normally 2 hour drive home that turned into 3 1/2 because of the traffic!) that I write best when I'm surrounded by chaos. Maybe it's my lifelong habit of needing pressure to produce. When the crunch hits (mostly to do with time) is when the adrenaline rushes and when my brain clicks into overdrive. I also learned over the last few years to write during rush hour subway rides and buses, at noisy children's sporting events, in waiting rooms and cars in between appointments. I trained myself to tune out the outside world and tune into the inside one. So when I am faced with quiet and time - two things I'm not normally privy to - I shut down, not gear up. And maybe that's a good thing - for me anyway. Shutting down is necessary so that when I'm back in the crazy routine that takes up 90 per cent of my life, I can produce words when I need them. Maybe it's my way of staying sane in the insanity that is my life.
However, it does make me worry that when the craziness of my life slows down (when children leave, when I finally retire) will my words slow down too? Hmmm. Maybe I'll just have to keep riding the subway when I'm old and grey with no particular destination but surrounded by noise and crowds so that I can retreat into my inside world.
How about you? Do you need quiet, serene surroundings to produce or do you write best when life is crashing down around you?