Hideaway

Ideal Workspace

Right when I started sliding into writing things I would never show other human beings (2009, if you don’t mind me getting all specific), I hit on a great idea. See, I was ready to write. It was as if I’d gathered a great big bundle of energy like a character in Dragonball Z, and just needed to find a planet to Hadouken! into oblivion.  (Yes, jerks, I know that hadouken is Street Fighter and not DBZ, and if you knew that, too, you have no right to be getting all snippy with me.) Only I kept getting distracted by all the exciting toys in my house, so instead of destroying planets, I destroyed a bag of chips and watched television. Enter the great idea.

I’d go somewhere else.

It was simple. Beautiful. I’d get a hotel room, bring my laptop and a bottle of some kind of alcohol (for the Hemingway flavor, though he probably wouldn’t approve of my coming home with the bottle still 2/3 full), tell everyone they could speak to the voicemail if they called me and just write. It would be a retreat. A little Eric creative retreat. I’d write and write and write and come home with buckets of words. So, I booked a hotel in Virginia, bought (on Brennen’s suggestion) some 15 year old Laphroaig scotch and went to work.

The crazy thing? It totally worked. Like gangbusters. (Confession: I don’t actually know what a gangbuster is, or how well one works.) I spent the first day mostly puttering around the hotel room, sipping scotch and enjoying being free from all the human beings. By the evening, though, I found myself at the computer, working. Working a lot. I brought my laptop into the lobby, into the restaurant, outside. I worked on the bed and at the desk.  My longest break was getting sushi for dinner, and even then I was getting myself ready for another sprint. I came home with a completed novella, just like I’d planned. It was awesome.

I did it again last year, this time in a downtown Pittsburgh hotel. I bought plum wine and sake (having recently read a book that made me obsessed with plum wine, but not so obsessed to make me forget that I would probably puke if I drank nothing but) and settled in. Same as last time: A slow start accelerating into furious planet destroying hadouken. It worked. It really, actually worked. If I was ready before going in, if I had the potential energy, the isolation nudged the boulder down the mountain.

The trick, I decided, was in knowing when what I needed was a total change of environment. At the right moment, the shock of stripping away everything comfortable was focusing. Being in a different chair at a different desk – away from cats and Erin and a Playstation – made it crystal clear I was going to work. Like sending e-mail to my brain in big, bold letters:

Writing time, dummy!

My brain got the message.

Last weekend, I hit a point in planning the novel where there was nothing left to do but write. First chapters are terrifying, though – a topic I’ll save for the first blog post after I finish said chapter – and  I knew I was going to find it dangerously easy to punt on it for days or weeks. In fact, I’m sitting here having punted on it for days, so I think I knew what I was talking about. If I was going to get over the hump, I needed that big, bold lettered e-mail, and I needed it stat.

Tonight, I’ll be checking into a hotel in an undisclosed location and if I don’t have a first chapter on the other side, I’d be very surprised. I won’t be answering my phone or making calls, though don’t be surprised if maybe catch me online; I can occasionally flit – in a masculine way – into and out of a texty chat without losing my focus. It’s hard to say. All I know is that I’m shocking the system into getting over the scariest part of a new story, and I’m doing it by Sunday.

See you on the other side with something to show for it.

This entry was posted in Creating. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Hideaway

  1. samatwitch says:

    Good luck to you. Can’t wait to hear how you did.

    Good writing!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *