I think that most creative people need to enter a special headspace in order to get those creative juices flowing happily away. To the ‘uncreative’ person, this can seem like an eccentric trait that creative people carry. I like to think of it as a different parallel reality.
After all, we are all living and sharing the same Earth, it’s just that some of us have tapped into an alternative universe. For many years, I refused to believe that there were actually people out there that didn’t have an imagination. I have a friend who claims she doesn’t have a creative bone in her body, but yet every now and then she come out with the most profound innovative idea that she should really start selling them, and retaining the rights. I can’t tell you what any of these amazing ideas are, or else she would kill me – but let’s just say that they would make everyday life a little easier. But other than these innovative ideas, she is very much straight up and down with no lateral thinking sideways movements.
Amazingly, in a sense I tend to agree with people who believe they don’t have an imagination. They don’t have an ‘active’ imagination that they tap into and draw ideas from. These people are sort of like droids in a sense. They do what they are told, they work within their boundaries, and they never ever ‘think’ beyond their sense of control. (E.g. wake up at 7am, have shower, get dressed, catch the same train to work every day, walk in through the office door at 8.29am, sit down at their desk all day, eat their pre-packed lunch, leaving office at 5pm, catching the same train home again, sit down and watch the news while their prepacked dinner is cooking in the microwave, and go to bed by 9pm. On Friday nights they deviate from the daily plan and have a beer after work. If they are feeling really rebellious, they may have a few more, pick up some drunk chick for a one night stand, and then relive those moment of life deviation for the next week.) Seriously. I actually know people like that. I’m not joking.
Then there are people like me and my creative peers who don’t mind pottering about at home, delving into one’s own mind. They don’t mind reading books, or watching movies. Good sociable occasions provide amazing fodder for our imaginations, so socially it’s good to be with people who make us laugh and tell us their own life stories. We build layers upon layers of information. We re-weave new stories with old ones to create unique situations.
For me, there is nothing quite as invigorating as a really good writing session. I feel as though I have just done a load of exercise, and I have endorphins streaming through me, electrifying every sense within me. I’m not kidding. When I get on a roll, this is my happy place. No one can interrupt it.
Once upon a time, I used to catch the train for an hour to and from work. Within that hour long stretch, amongst all the vibrations, rocking, constant stopping, and people movement – I could crank out 1200-1500 words. I would plug in my headphones and play my book’s soundtrack that I had put together, and just write. Some days the writing would be rubbish, but other days it was golden. But the consistency of the train helped me sync into my writing groove.
Another place that I loved to write was in Cafés. Yes, I took a leaf out of JK Rowling’s ‘how to’ manual with that idea. I thought, ‘If she can do it, then I want to try’. And so I did. And amazingly – it works for me. There are those writers out there who can only write in a deathly silent room, and be absolutely alone with their thoughts. There are others like me, who need constant noise – whether it’s just background noise, or soundtrack music directly relating to your manuscript. The sound of a coffee shop is strangely comforting to me. It has something to do with the sound of the coffee machine going, the smell of freshly brewed coffee, and the scent of muffins straight out of the oven. Then there are the people. They sit around chattering amongst themselves, or perhaps they are reading a book or the daily paper. As I watch these people, I often wonder where they are from, their lives, and what they are feeling. Essentially, I start to character profile them. This exercise of people watching seriously gets my active little imagination going. After all… how can we write about people and their emotions if we haven’t delved into the psyche a little?
The other place that I write in is in my library at home. (Really, it’s probably my spare room… but anyway.) This place is so special to me. I am surrounded by all the material things that I love. Books, music, sculptures, paintings, and a bunch of other things that I would probably prefer not to be in there. But however, nothing is ever totally perfect. But the space for me is perfect. I can very quickly get into the writing zone when I am working in there. I set it up for me to be able to do this. I have just managed to get this room back to the way I want it after six months. For the past six months it has been a storage area for all of Bump’s stuff. And if Bump’s stuff wasn’t in there, then people were staying, and therefore I couldn’t work in there. It’s amazing how much my writing feng shui gets out of sync when other people are here. Perhaps that is the introvert coming out in me? Anyway – after not having full use of my library for the past six months, I have now officially been back in it for the past week and a half. And my-oh-my how the creative juices are once again flowing. The music pounds around this room as I sit down and open my latest manuscript that I am working on. The door is closed. And somehow, I can just feel the balance of this room centring my creative soul.
In essence, my library is the place that I write in effectively when I am at home. There is no other room like it. In this room new worlds of my alternative reality are dreamt up and turned into a form of reality amongst the pages I write. In this room characters are born, and characters die. In this room, my mind extends beyond itself into other parallel realities.
I think that we all have a space like this somewhere in the world, where nothing can deter us from our focus. (Apart from the internet…) I think that it is seriously important for us to have this space… whether it is a mental or physical space. It’s our own little happy place, and that’s what matters the most.