On regenerating those little grey cells.

Every writer needs to do it at some point, just get away from the mundanities of so-called normal life – the importance of Getting Away From It All is not to be underestimated. My day-to-day process of living largely revolves around my small daughter, so to be honest anything out of the ordinary, even for half a day, can act as a tremendous stimulus to my brain. But a whole weekend away – in heavenly Devon – and in perfect weather, has been a rare and wonderful treat indeed. In recent years the only time I’ve had to myself to escape and recharge has been the occasional long walk up a particularly steep hill. It’s a worthwhile stroll though; the view is a lovely one, even in thick winter mist. In the thick of the January snows this year I went for an eerie walk after midnight – an experience I was able to use in the fantasy work-in-progress-that-has-temporarily-going-on-for-five months-now ground to a halt. But the walk helped. Seeing the valley in which I live smothered under that silent sky, while the brook rushed endlessly nearby, helped. Saying hello to trees and hills and clouds – or last weekend, the sea – blows away those cobwebs, opens up the pokier recesses of my brain to let in the light, and stimulates the creative juices. I’ve had all sorts of odd ideas in the last few days – whether they’ll amount to anything is really neither here nor there, the simple fact that new synapses are firing their random bursts of electricity is enough for me.

Music has always been a source of inspiration. Some music I find invaluable to write to – for example Howard Shore’s Complete Scores for The Lord Of The Rings are perfect whilst writing the aforementioned fantasy epic. And new music conjures new thoughts and feelings, or a new light to see them by. One character – the infamous Bellisa – even has her own playlist. If I’m going to make any headway in the task I’ve signed up for (the one that begins tomorrow – see previous post) I’d better decide which music will suit. In the meantime, I have felt moved to make a list of four letter words, scrawled so far across three pages in my current Moleskine. I know, I know, an odd response to three days away, but hey, that just goes to show the unfathomable workings of the mind. Or my mind, at any rate.

So how do YOU do it? What does it take to kick YOUR brain into gear? What gets your creative juices flowing?


3 thoughts on “On regenerating those little grey cells.”

  1. Walking works for me, when my ideas need to wake up

    I can’t write to music of any kind – I find it too distracting. I’ve always been able to study with music and read – but writing seems to prefer silence.

    When I am stuck on something, the most productive time for me is when I go to bed. Invariably I lie awake thinking and then just as I am about to drop off to sleep, ideas will fill my head and I get up and run downstairs to my computer. If I’m really tired I call to Ryan who is usually working in the back bedroom, and tell him to email me and then dictate a few words. For some reason these never make sense in the morning – but I if I go downstairs and write them myself they do. Whether it is simply that the ideas become more clearly devloped as I travel downstairs, or that the ideas I can’t be bothered getting up for aren’t as good – I guess I will never know….

    1. I remember once spending a very unsatisfying night trying to work out a short story. By 3am I’d decided to give up and go to bed. Just after I’d cleaned my teeth I got mugged – literally hit over the head, it felt like – by a disturbing little poem. I didn’t get to bed till nearly 4am (and haven’t written any poetry since).

  2. Ironing works for- I do all my best thinking when i’m ironing. In fact thats the only time I do thinking, the rest of the time i just get on and do whatever needs doing.Its a fairly simple existence but it works for me.
    Oh, and the time spent in my garden counts as religious experience. I am a devout fundamentalist gardener.

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