I used to write at home on my desktop. No distractions. Tuesday and Thursday nights were understood to be mine, with wife and cat silent. Wrote a couple of books like that, including the published Fire and Bronze.
Things change, however. I’ve got too many distractions at home. Also, many nights (now that I cycle to work) I’m rather tired. I’ve also got my best friend’s call on Tuesday nights. Too many interruptions.
But by then, I’d bought a laptop. That opened up a lot of possibilities. I could bring my computer in every day (except the one bike-in day). And I could generally find somewhere to write for an hour at lunch. In this, I surprised myself at learning to be creative in what is usually considered my mental-slow time. I’ve actually trained myself to be creative based on lunchtime. Besides, it beat the usual lunchtime activity, which was listening to coworkers bitch about work.
Still, I wanted to ride more and didn’t want to risk carrying that large laptop with me. But now tinytops (little computers engineered for web surfing, made extinct in short order by tablets) became available. I picked one up, something small enough to ride in the saddle bag, cheap enough that a crash and crush wouldn’t leave me financially crying, yet with a keyboard 90% standard size. I went over to a box store to QuickBrownFox it and found it perfect for my needs.
So now lunch is the creative hour of the day, seated on the Nature’s Table patio, overlooking a lake in the shade of spreading trees. I get out there early enough so the gabbing lawyers we share the building with don’t poach my seat (honestly, it should be reserved, I’m such a fixture). In winter, it can get a might cold. In summer, it could be a bit warm. But it doesn’t matter – as soon as I’m writing, I’m in ancient Assyria or flying through sunny skies with a bevy of crows. It’s five hours I can cut each week from the demanding world to work on my next Great American.
Look around for your own spot, a little corner or sunny spot overlooked in your usual routine. You might need to drill yourself to make your creative juices flow on demand, but creativity is somewhat Pavlovian – you can make it work if you try.
And remember, when someone comes out and asks if you are writing, look up from your writing tool, lean back, smile warmly and say “Buzz off.”
Works for me.