Monday, December 13, 2010

Accelerated Times

It’s very odd, but I can’t seem to write by pen & paper anymore. I am so used to sitting with my laptop, that not having it impedes my flow.

I have no idea why this is the case… one would think just the opposite would happen.

For me, though, the writing process has become somewhat disjointed. I seem to do best when I write and revise, edit and step back, each task in quick succession, and almost randomly.

There’s also a part of the process that requires distraction… and computers allow me, even in mid-sentence, to quickly and constantly check my email or instant messages.

I used to think that this multi-tasking had to be disruptive to inspiration and the completion of projects—how could you possibly get in “the zone” if you kept jumping around from task to task?

But I recently reread Rollo May’s amazing work, “The Courage To Create,” and he said the creative process needs diversion. The way he explained it, you spend concentrated intellectual effort on something, but then the inspiration comes when your mind puts the problem aside and concerns itself with other things.

Of course, when May wrote this back in 1975, he was referring to working on the problem for several hours straight, and then going off and doing something else completely different.

But we’re living in accelerated times now… maybe a quicker alternation of tasks is required in a society where camera angles on TV change, on average, at least every three seconds…

Perhaps, then, the key for me isn’t to calm my racing mind, but rather to adapt my methods to its frenetic pace. I don’t know.

One thing I am sure about, however, is that I don’t like writing by pen & paper anymore.

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