Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Blaugust 12B, 2015: Spinning Wheels Get the Kick.

Sometimes I find it very hard to focus on things that I am supposed to be doing, such as catching up on writing these Blaugust blaugs, or even want to be doing. This makes achieving goals very difficult indeed. Today, as is often the case, my mind is completely preoccupied by questions that should rightly be placed in the near future along with extensive analysis of events in the past. They are both unrelated to the here and now, what I can accomplish today, but they are dominating my thoughts so completely that I have struggled to focus.

When I'm in this situation, I first have to abandon anything that requires creative thinking. As my thoughts are dominated by other things, spending more time in my head trying to force my thinking down another track isn't productive at all and just reinforces the problem. As such I still haven't written my next story for Dave's game of prompts despite having the outline in my head for half a week.

I then might choose to do things that I can do without having to think about them. Options include cooking, cleaning, exercising, weeding, and anything else I can do completely on autopilot. These tasks are often things that I normally avoid because I've got nothing going on upstairs, I focus on the tedium of the task, and I get bored. But because my thoughts are full and not idle I can motor through in these conditions.

It helps a great deal if I can get outside to do this. Fresh air, sunshine and birdsong are refreshing.

If the task is suitably repetitive, and especially if it contains a rhythmic physical component like swinging a mattock, I tend to reach a point where I stop thinking at all for a while. I can't do it from the other direction, when my mind is empty, because I am acutely aware of this and look for things to fill it. But if I get a good rhythm going when the wheels are spinning hard, sometimes they will just silently stop. Perfectly thoughtless, lost in the moment and the motion.

Today I cooked a nice pumpkin soup, which involved lots of chopping. I did the dishes, too. Finally I exercised, hitting the rowing machine before following it up with a walk to my post office box, then more rowing again. I didn't achieve a moment of zen, but it certainly calmed things down.

Another possibility is to write in a descriptive stream of consciousness style, explaining some aspect of what is going on in my head. Although I am never happy with what I produce under these conditions, as I think far faster than I can type and thoughts compete for keystrokes, it does help to order the basics.

I decided not to talk about what I've been thinking about today as I'll probably save that for another post. But I have chosen to explain my process here in order to satisfy my writing goal and help restore some Blaugust discipline on a day when all creativity perforce went right out the window. It is mildly self-indulgent, but what is Blaugust if not an exercise in self-indulgence?

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