Part One – The Pros
Are you tired of sitting sedately in front of a computer while you write? Why not do what I do and spice things up a bit. For instance, as I write this post, I’m applying a new coat of paint to the guest bedroom. I also like to write as I dust and mop, while I’m gardening and especially during long stints of ironing. Now why, you might ask, would anyone want to complicate matters like this? Why not sit down at your desk and focus on writing, instead of trying to do two things at once? There are two answers to this question:
#1. Because I love to write, but my free time is non-existent.
#2. Because I love to write, but I also enjoy a clean house.
Did I mention that I love to write? Were it up to me, I would wile away my days creating clever characters and composing witty repartee, but I am enough of a realist to know that I would not enjoy the lifestyle afforded by my writing income. As a result, I spend my days clerking at the local library. As for my nights and other off hours, I spend an overwhelming amount of time tidying, preparing meals, folding laundry, and mowing lawns, which leaves an underwhelming amount of time to write.
Now some would say that one who was truly a writer, would forgo a shining sink in favor of their craft, and in truth, were I were forced to choose between the two pursuits, my sink would never sparkle, but luckily that isn’t necessary. I have discovered that not only is it possible to write as I clean, cook, fold and mow, but it’s easy to do.
Let’s say I ‘m performing a mundane task like vacuuming the living room. Left to its own pursuits my brain might begin to consider the deplorable state of the carpet I’m cleaning, and ruminate on how many of my meager paychecks it would take to replace it. Instead of thus plunging myself into the depths of despair, I can redirect my thoughts. I can focus on my next writing project, and begin to organize it in my mind. And so can you.
Maybe you’ve recently read a fascinating book, taken up a new hobby, or discovered a better way of doing things? Could you turn any of that into a short story or magazine article? If you were writing to a friend about your new interest, what would you say, how would you grab their attention? Can you think of a snappy opening sentence? Compose in your head, and before you know it, the housework is finished, and you can race to the computer to put your words down for posterity.
This tendency of mine has two obvious advantages; the first being the elimination of writers block. By the time I am finally seated in front of the computer, my mind is overflowing with images and phrases that simply must be recorded. No sitting and staring at a blank screen with this method. Fingers literally fly across the keyboard and the empty screen ceases to intimidate.
Another plus is the fact that multi-tasking makes better use of your time. You can accomplish twice as much when your brain’s down time is put to good use. If you pay attention, you’d be surprised at how much time you spend thinking about absolutely nothing, or worse, stewing over unsolvable problems. If you train yourself to think productively, you’ll find you spend less time in the twilight zone, and waste fewer moments brooding over the tiff you had with your boss. Before long, your overall mental state will improve.
Of course we all need some down time. Once in a while a writer just needs to relax and read a good book or take a nap, but remember, most of us use only one tenth of our mind’s amazing abilities, as a result, we have a lot of excess brain cells just begging to be utilized. Writing in your head is like taking your brain to the gym. How many times have heard that keeping the mind active and alert is the best way to prevent Alzheimer’s or other degenerative problems? Complex creative thinking is good for you, and the memorization involved in this process is an excellent way to keep your mind razor-sharp. So don’t worry about overtaxing the gray matter. Put some of that extra ninety percent to use and watch what happens.