How do you do anything?
How can you get the best out of your time, making sure that you can fit everything into what needs to be done to get the results you’re looking for?
When I write, I do find that I have very particular needs to give me what I require and they all seem to start in or around a pub. I wrote roughly seventy percent of my first book and a fair chunk of the gaggle of short stories I’ve packed into my stable in The Whittington Arms pub near us. In there I find that I can get to a point that my mind just bustles along in the way I need it to. The feeling in the narrative I come up with seems to be that extra step on from than that I can manage when I’m working at home.
I‘ve said on Facebook before that I really struggle to be able to concentrate when I’m working in an environment of quiet and calm. Give me a decent amount of random background noise and I’m much more able to keep my attention where it has to be. Just imagine me sat in a quiet room but looking in every direction you can come up with just because my mind keeps wandering. White noise it is.
Strangely though, it isn’t just a bland humming noise that I need. This would probably put me to sleep pretty well but not much else.
I’d like to think that this mind set has been driven by the fact that I’ve spent my working life either in gyms (where there’s always a monotonous beat bouncing along as motivation for those training) or on a warehouse floor (my current base of operations has me flying a computer near to loads of machinery and the occasional fork lift). The trouble is I think that that only has a part to play. I do function well in an environment with some noise and life to it and a great fit is my local..
I know, I know, ‘it’s just an excuse to go and get a few brews down your neck all in the guise of creation’. Well maybe a little but I do get the best results in the pub. I nurse the drinks along rather than just get hammered. You can all relax, I don’t have a problem. Whether it’s the mental effect of the background noise and ‘fuel’ or just the fact I’m putting myself in a different location to work. At home, well that’s where I relax and lay on the sofa. That’s where we do all the normal things that are away from ‘work’ and there’s always something to do. I have tried having a pint at home to see if there was any difference but the results were the same. By leaving and going somewhere else, I can get the best of both worlds.
It does come with its pitfalls though.
I once wrote an entire chapter of the first book and called one character by anothers name, all thanks to the effect of my creative ‘fuel’ of choice. There may be some disagreement over if Earnest Hemingway actually said “Write drunk, edit sober” but that doesn’t stop it being true.
So here we are. I’ve given a little view on what I do to start the wheels of the creative process. I have a great time writing because of the freedom of the story. I love knotting up the tales and creating puzzles that have to be worked out. But I enjoy my individual process and the odd drink.
Long may it continue to give me the ideas I need.