Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Thursday, September 6, 2007

My Water Dish Got Moved

Maybe I'm the only one who has this problem, but I have a real problem changing spaces and then getting back into my groove. As you may know, I moved again. Since we rent, we move more frequently than most people - mainly because people keep selling their properties out from under us, but I digress. I didn't realize until recently how attached I grow to a certain place, and a certain routine in that place.

When I first started writing, I was single and living with my daughter in an apartment in the Salt Lake Valley. It was a tiny apartment and my bedroom/office was in the dining room. I'd write until I was too tired, then roll off my chair and into my bed. I wasn't really in any routine at the time, so when I got married and moved to Colorado, it wasn't very hard for me to slip into writing at our new home.

Flash forward a year. I've settled into a routine, and we've got an office where I can shut myself away to write. It was a converted garage - dark and faintly musty, with lots of spiders. I made it work for me. Then our landlady sold her house. After we moved, I had a devil of a time getting back into the writing again. I thought at the time I was just going through one of those periods where the writing is slow. I never thought about the change of venue as the reason. After all, writers can work anywhere. Give me a notepad and a pen, and I can write at the lake if I want to. Right?

Flash forward two years. I was in a routine again, and the writing was coming along fairly well. This time I was back in a dining room - bright and airy with a minimum of critters. Then our landlady put her house on the market and we moved.

And my writing slump came back.

Sitting on the couch, I thought about why I keep getting these slumps, just when I have scads of time to write. Was it the heat? Was my muse taking summer vacation? When I really thought about it, I realized the one summer I didn't move, I didn't have a slump. I wrote a lot that summer. The only excuse left was the move.

I couldn't seem to get into the groove here. Sitting on the couch with a notebook just didn't inspire me the way it had before - same couch, same notebook, different surroundings. I'm working at the same desk, with relatively the same layout, and my groove is off. The lighting is different. The smells are different. I'm not in my writing place.

My husband has this theory. It has to do with dogs and water dishes. His theory is when it comes to moving around, humans are like dogs. We need to know where our water dish is, and that it's always in the same spot. And when it's not, it throws us off. (If you've ever moved your pet's water dish, you know how confused the poor thing gets - even if for only a minute.)

So, my water got moved and I was feeling a little lost because of it. Aha! Of course, now that I know, it made the whole funk disappear. I got back to writing, and have put out a couple thousand words on my new book - Redemption. All better.

Until we move again. *sigh*


Janimé said...

Next time make sure you send your muse a forwarding address. She seems to have a hard time catching up with you ;-)

B.E. Sanderson said...

LOL... Too true.

Alex Andronov said...

I have two (count them) computers in my house. One in the study, and a laptop that lives in the living room. When I moved here I was sure I would find myself holed up in the study writing away at all hours. Little did I realise that I would fall in love with writing on the laptop wherever I was. Now I find that the study very difficult to write in. Odd the way that location can be so important.

Anonymous said...

As a person (and renter) who enjoys the adventures that each new space brings, I would suggest that you perform a "muse ritual" with each muse, in which you light a candle and sit in the middle of the empty space (before hauling your stuff in) and invite your muse to his/her new home, and be sure to tell him/her that it is the most creative space ever. See what happens!

Travis Erwin said...

My writing goes in cycles, but since I've never so much as moved my desk an inch, so I can't say what is to blame for my non-productive periods. Unless it is my own natural laziness.