Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Me and My Satellite Office

StartupStockPhotos via Pixabay
Honestly, sometimes preparing to write off-site is like packing for a trip. Computer? Check. Charger? Check. Music and earbuds? Check. Mouse? Check. Folder/notes? Check.

By the time I finish packing my bag to leave the house, I probably could've written the equivalent of a page. Double that by the time I unpack all those goodies at Starbucks, or wherever else I've designated as my satellite office for the day.

Given all of the time and trouble involved, why not just stay home? Sometimes, I just need a change of scenery. Being in the same place for too long can put me into a rut, both physically and creatively, so much so that the words don't flow -- or show up at all. I try moving from room to room, working in my office, or the family room or at the dining room table, especially when no one is home, and some days this works.

But other days, home brings distractions, even when no one else is there. When I'm staring at my computer, drawing a blank, all of the household chores I've neglected suddenly look fascinating. Whether it's dishes, laundry or At times, this is a good thing. Last night, for example, I was trying to force myself through a writing sprint when I hit a wall. More than half of my time had ticked away, so I knew I could finish, but I seemed to be reading the same paragraph over and over, still dissatisfied with its contents. Staying put seemed to be the responsible thing to do, but it wasn't the productive thing to do.

I needed to move.

I went upstairs, changed the sheets on the bed then got back to work.

Huh. Whaddaya know? That paragraph wasn't so bad after all.

Does it work, this switching of tasks and locations? Sometimes. If the break is short and defined (I'm going to spend ten minutes doing this particular thing), it can be just what I need to wake up the muse. If the place I go to get work done is quiet and I don't run into anyone I know, I can get a lot done. One of the reasons I often go to my local Starbucks to work is that I've learned its rhythms. There are certain times of day when I'm unlikely to find a table and/or enough peace and quiet to get anything accomplished, but if I hit a quiet time, running away from home with my laptop and accoutrements is a good strategy. I've written entire sections of novels as well as numerous blogs at Starbucks some days while on other days, I've gotten absolutely nothing accomplished.

When the timing and planning work out, the change of scenery and the escape from the distractions that call out to me make packing my stuff and taking my chances worth the time and effort required. Fueled by movement, the muse and a dose of caffeine, my characters and I can expend our energies tackling the conflict on the page instead of the distractions outside the story.

mohamed hassan via Pixabay

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