Relaxation therapy

2 February 2015 11:00

Last week, after spending over a month in outline hell, I finally started writing my 9th book, the 5th and final part of series of Young Adult urban fantasy novellas. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to for some time, as I’m starting to get eager to finish these books for publication (a process that will take many months), after which I can move on to new projects.

Outlining can be a strange undertaking. Sometimes you fill out half of it in minutes, and then spend the next week staring at a blank screen. Inspiration can hit you in the shower, or remain absent for a week. As time passes, motivation can drop, and delays can grow. You start looking at other hobbies, justifying your slacking by invoking the phrase I shouldn’t rush my muse, only to spend days on side projects.

Anyway, if you’re like me, then even with these delays you’ll probably finish the outline eventually, and get back to writing, as I did last week. I’ve mentioned many times that one of my primary writing moments is during my daily commute, which is a forty minute train ride. I generally don’t reach top speed during this time, but even small fragments of writing add up in the long run.

So after a couple of days of writing, I exited the train as I do daily, and I suddenly realized I was feeling a lot more relaxed than I normally did when exiting the train. My thoughts were focused on the story elements I had just been writing, and I was barely aware of my surroundings (just enough not to bump into people, and to remember to check out my OV chipkaart).

This might not seem all that special, but in the previous weeks I spent a lot of my commute time working on programming projects, and sometimes on games. While both of them allow a certain level of creativity, neither of these are quite as relaxing as writing, and I’d even argue that programming during my commute makes me more tired, whereas writing seems to invigorate me. The only thing that compares in this regard is reading during my commute.

If any of my fellow writers are reading this: do you agree with this? Does writing help you relax?