I’m No Good at Transitions
Start a day in a meeting; then it’s off to start writing. Some people can immediately be working. That won’t be me that you’re seeing. I’m not one of those people. I’m no good at transitions.
Tim Allen best expressed this feeling. He said smething like,
I hate getting into the shower, and I hate getting out.
The problem is I leave a meeting, chirping like a box of birds. It’s a personal idiosyncrasy–once my extrovert gets talking and interacting, I have trouble finding my thinking and writing introvert. As with most things me, the only solution I’ve found — giving my brain what it needs — I’m good at that.
Reflection Is Better than Rattling
I think the sudden silence scares me, especially silence paired with a blank computer screen. I’ve learned to build in a space between the talking and the writing thing. I think of that space as like the commute from work to home — time to unwind from one and get ready for the other. I call that time my 6-Minute Transition, because it takes as long as one good song in my headphones.
My objective is to stop rattling — wanting to talk about anything and everything. I want to get rid of all the stress I have — from the meeting and from anywhere in my life. That way I can really think and really write.
A 6-Minute Transition for Writing
Here’s how I get my brain to leave those stressful things behind.
- I pick my topic and write it down. Then promptly forget about it.
- I pull a lovely image onto my computer screen.
- I put headphones on and slide into a song I know — an old friend.
- When the song’s over, I’ve detached from the world.
- I start writing, sometimes with the music still on; sometimes I turn it off.
That little transition has moved me far from what was going on before. It had the effect that a short commute would have had, but I did it without leaving my computer. My brain is in another place now. I’m ready to focus on the task of writing.
I find a blank screen in my head is much easier to deal with than one on the computer.
Do you have tricks that you use to get you in the mood for writing? Share them; would you? I could always use a few more.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
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