As a hangover from our school system we all get that feeling of September being a fresh start – like a bonus ‘new-year-turn-over-a-new-leaf ‘event. Right on cue the Autumn winds arrived, to start whipping the leaves off the trees, and driving rain into my face. Yes, I felt giddy with possibilities as I pulled on my Wolfskin and headed out of the door yesterday.
New pencil case.
Since my other occupation (sewing) is currently impossible (sewing machine buried under stuff that ought to be on eBay) and we have a new table (Ikea) and some functioning dining chairs (new obsession – upholstery), lately I often find myself at the kitchen table, sitting on a slightly rickety chair, with my laptop open and the kettle on.
Surprisingly this is a good place to write for me. I’ve experimented around the house, in all the rooms and all the chairs, and it seems that the place that makes me most productive is the one place you’d think I’d get distracted by all the jobs I ought to be doing. Luckily I’m enough of a domestic slut that I have no trouble ignoring the things I ought to be doing, in favour of things I’d rather be doing.
I know that Virginia says we need a room of one’s own, and that’s all very well, but how many of us can really have that luxury? Better to amend the exhortation to a place of one’s own, because I think this is necessary. In conjunction with the notebook you like, and the special pen, sitting down in the place where you write best helps your brain take shortcuts to the bit you want to get to. And we are all creatures of habit, even if you think you’re not: we run in little grooves, and make routines for ourselves that let us function on autopilot to get things done – imagine the horror of having to think everything through from scratch every day! It would be like starting a new job all the time.
But this is a great time of year to forge a new routine, and breathe some life back into your writing habits. Experiment around the house, and out of the house, until it feels right, until you have a great writing session that makes you feel giddy, and by October, you’ll be back on autopilot again.
So rejoice in the season changing, in children going back to school, in new shoes, winter coats, and rib-sticking stews. More than anything the promise of the new pencil case is that we antisocial creatures are freed from the pressure to go outside and enjoy the sunshine, making terrible small talk at barbeques, and can hole up with books and pens and as much of our own company as we can stand. Bliss.