For the writing day, I leave - go somewhere else. I leave one life. I go to the writing life.
(At this point, my mind screams, "Don't go toward the light - wrong life!")
Walking to go from one life to the other is best. I stop thinking about where I was and what I was doing and begin thinking about where I'm going and what I'll be doing. When I get to the writing destination, I've usually begun phantom writing. Words are ready to exit my mind and enter a story.
That prep time, I realized, is very important.
So this evening, after work and dinner, after the cats went outside on sentry duty and the wife retired to bed, I walked around the house, thinking about writing, trying to move from one life to another.
It was much harder.
I think it's because there are too many tells in the house, tells, as used in "Inception", to help you know whether you're in a dream or in real life. My house is full of real life tells. I don't have life tells out on the roads, sidewalks, and trails.
Then, though, I thought, why can't I create a writing tell. Something to use as I walk around the house, something to help me focus and try to move from one place to the other?
Naturally I reached for a pen.
I use pens as a talisman. I carry pens on me, first from military habit, then from my writing habit, every day. Once I'm dressed, I accessorize with a pen. I like having them, whipping my pen out in public when someone asks someone else, "Do you have a pen I can use?" I love whirling around and drawing my pen out like it's a six shooter in a Dodge City gunfight and holding it up before them. "You can use my pen."
My voice is deeper when I speak those words, deep and flat, with a laconic drawl.
Walking around the house with my tell in hand, thinking about writing, I was able to move further into the process. It still wasn't as satisfying as the walk out to the writing life, but it has promise.
Like anything involved with my writing efforts, it's a beginning. I need to continue trying.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com