Writing Through The Noise
I find it difficult to write in the chaotic environment of the waking world. The mental space is cluttered; cars whirling by on the freeway, the hydraulics of trash trucks picking up garbage cans, T.Vs playing in the background, the cling-clang of dishes and buzzing of airplanes; all seem to muffle access to the creative for me.
There’s a tendency for writers to create their best work either really late at night or really early in the morning. It’s as if the mental atmosphere—the imagination—opens up as the rest of the world sleeps and becomes more accessible to those tuning into it. The world becomes more still and an inner space emerges more easily.
However, there are those who are able to— and even prefer—to work in chaotic environments. The romantic image of someone typing away in a noisy cafe comes to mind. I have found myself giving into that vision before; my computer opened up in some foreign cafe, sipping endless cups of coffee and creating great pieces of work. But the reality is I often times freeze up, words don't flow very easily in those environments for me.
The hectic daytime environment for me, is more adequate for right brain analytical work like editing, website tweaking, and emails. In an ideal day, I would wake up really early around 5 am, to write for a few hours, then go about the morning chores. Mid-day would be the handling of less creative, task-orientated work.
But we cant always rely on an ideal setting to work, or we can easily end up procrastinating for things to be just right. I used to be able to write only while in solitude, but blogging on the road has taught me to be able to work in different situations; whether it is in a hotel room while cartoons are playing, or sitting in the car while at a mechanic’s repair shop.
Sometimes we cant wait for the muse of inspiration to come; we have to sit down and do what needs to be done whether she shows up or not. If you’re persistent she will show more times then not.
In The War Of Art, perhaps the best book ever written about getting your life-work done and goals accomplished, Author Steven Pressfield states,
“ Someone once asked Somerset Maugham if he wrote on a schedule or only when struck by inspiration. "I write only when inspiration strikes," he replied. "Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o'clock sharp." That's a pro. In terms of Resistance, Maugham was saying, "I despise Resistance; I will not let it faze me; I will sit down and do my work." Maugham reckoned another, deeper truth: that by performing the mundane physical act of sitting down and starting to work, he set in motion a mysterious but infallible sequence of events that would produce inspiration, as surely as if the goddess had synchronized her watch with his. He knew if he built it, she would come."
Often times all we need to do is start the project at hand and eventually the creative juice will start following. The starting part is the hardest part to get over.
It's a daily battle to defeat procrastination and self doubt in order to get at our life's calling. To me, getting my work done comes down to being able to function everyday. If I don't take the necessary steps in pursuing my goals and giving it my best shot each day, I rob those around me of my full presence. In the book The Way Of The Superior Man, Author David Deida sums this view up perfectly when he states,
“Don’t cheat your family of your fullest core, and don't use them as an excuse to avoid the work it will take to manifest your highest vision. You can give love to your family and engage your life’s work, if you discipline yourself to act on your deepest desires with priority. Then, when you are with your family, you are with them totally, since there is no chronically unfinished business in your life to distract you, and no inner ambiguity about where you want to be or what you really want to be doing.”
When do you get your best work done? What is your calling? Are you actively pursuing it? What is your greatest hurdles in getting it done?