Another unproductive day. I’m stymied. Most days I can shut out the outside world and write. Other days – like today – I can’t seem to get into it. My brain is surging with deadlines and that’s always counter-productive for me.
To break out of this – I won’t call it a block, but it’s close – I need to go somewhere unfamiliar. Leave behind the distractions like my wilting pots of flowers choking for a drink, my dishwasher begging to be emptied, the thawing meat waiting to be cooked into a sumptuous dinner.
Yesterday I cleaned the house. Aside from vacuuming, I even damp mopped my floors and dusted. Oh, and I did the laundry and put everything away – the same day. With the house in order, I thought I’d be able to concentrate on my writing. Not quite. Could you give me a hand tomorrow morning, my husband asked? Did he hear my inward groan? Yes, of course, I said. The deadline dates pinged off the inside of my forehead. My stomach cramped with guilt. It didn’t matter if I said yes or no. I’d either feel the guilt for not helping my husband or for not writing.
First thing this morning I had to go to the gym in town. The workout was too important to miss if you know what I mean. When I returned, I had a long and enjoyable phone chat with a friend who is going away for a month. Then it was close to lunchtime. My husband usually grabs a quick snack for himself during the day but I thought I’d make a hot lunch for both of us. I promised myself I would go straight to the office following the kitchen cleanup.
And so now here I am, writing about why I can’t accomplish anything with my writing these days.
A year or two ago, friends gave me permission to use their place while they were away on holiday. It was an amazing experience. I stayed for days at a time. Writing and sleeping and eating. A late afternoon glass of cabernet sauvignon with cheese and crackers and then back at it. No distractions. No obligations. A sleeping bag on the couch (my choice), the use of their kitchen for coffee, bagels, ready-made salads, and frozen pizza. It was amazing the amount of quality work I accomplished.
I’m not the only writer who finds it hard to constantly work from home and maintain a fresh outlook. Others have sought refuge in coffee shops, hotel lobbies, and libraries. It’s the change of scene and abandonment of all home responsibilities that open the floodgates of creativity.
I imagine an isolated cabin or a tenth storey apartment – just me and my computer. And my food and coffee, of course. And wine. Renting a cottage is not in my budget. A cheap hotel room? No, I don’t think so.
Think I’ll take a nap and maybe do some proofreading before it’s time to make supper.
Tomorrow is a new day. I’ll be back at the computer first thing in the morning…er, afternoon.