Staying in the Bubble

A new pilates class started last week in our village hall and yesterday my neighbour asked me, via our ‘message wall’* if I’d like to go with her tomorrow morning.

Ooh, I was so tempted. It’s actually one of my new year’s resolutions, to start pilates or yoga.

It’s only for an hour, I thought, plus travel time there and back (say another half an hour, to allow for chatting) but in the end, I saw sense and said no.

I will go with her once January’s over because I have got to get this second draft finished, I am waaaaay behind and I need to stay in my bubble.

When you’re writing a ‘longer piece’ – and this is definitely one of the tricky parts of it – you’re creating a whole world. And that imaginary world is fighting for time and space with the real world. The more time you spend in the real world, the harder it is to get back into the imaginary one. At least, that’s what I’m finding. I think that’s why writing gurus often dole out the advice to ‘write every day’. It’s about staying connected to the world you’re trying to create. I’ve just been to Center Parcs for four days (hence this post is late). And yes, the only bubble I connected with there, was the ‘subtropical paradise’, so trying to get back into writing today was hard work.

Stephen King advises writers to place their desk so it’s facing a blank wall (not even a window is allowed). Because you’re creating – you don’t want anything ‘real’ to distract you.

Marian Keyes gets into the writing zone by lighting a candle and telling herself ‘I’ll just do an hour’. (I’ve been trying this but I worry that I’ll burn the cave down).

I find it helps to: do my Morning Pages (which is like a writerly meditation. You could do yoga or actual mediation instead), stay off the internet until at least 4pm, avoid the tele’ until the evening and engage with the real world as little as possible.

I know I’m in the zone – inside that bubble – when the imaginary world I’m writing about starts to feel real. Perhaps, for that hour or so, it feels more real than the real world. Time flies – I don’t even notice it because I’m so absorbed in what I’m doing. It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like though, so I have to try to protect that feeling – that immersion – at all costs. And that means no pilates, for me. At least, not yet.

* The ‘message wall’ is state-of-the-art communication technology. You write a note by hand, stuff it in a plastic bag so it doesn’t get rained on and place it on the wall between your two houses, with a stone on it to weigh it down.

Other Stuff:

On a slightly different note, I’ve just (1 minute ago!) reached 800 followers so watch this space. In a couple of weeks time, hopefully, there’ll be a new random word competition, to celebrate!

Also – I always mention this so I’ll give it a little plug here – the Readers Digest 100 word writing competition (for UK residents only) is open for entries until 5pm on 19th February 2018.

It’s free to enter, there’s a top prize of £1000, you can enter as many times as you like, your title is in addition to the 100 words and for the first time they’ll be putting shortlisted entries into an anthology, which might appeal to you.

Just bear mind though, that – naughty, naughty – they take ‘worldwide copyright’ in all entries and can do whatever they like with your story (“We may use entries in all print and electronic media. Contributions become world copyright of Reader’s Digest.”). In the past, when they’ve published shortlisted entries in the magazine, they’ve paid the authors £60 or so but there’s nothing mentioned in the terms and conditions about paying entrants whose stories appear in the anthology.

The Center Parcs bubble

This entry was posted in Competitions, Finding Time To Write, Novels, random word competition and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Staying in the Bubble

  1. I started Pilates 2 weeks ago. It;s great but you have the right idea. Get done what you;re doing first. Good news about your 800 too. Well deserved.

    • Thank you Linda! I’m so glad I didn’t go today – too distracting! I managed 3.5 hours, including Morning Pages today. Not brilliant but definitely an hour or so more than I’d have done if I’d gone to pilates!

  2. ellem63 says:

    I love the idea of the ‘message wall’ you and your neighbour share. It’s a good way for busy people to keep in touch. 🙂

  3. lauraclipson says:

    I’m going to Centerparcs in March, and it cannot come quickly enough! I’ve wanted to try yoga classes for so long now – I’ll get around to it eventually!

  4. Chrissy says:

    HI, I am trying to get people involved in my blog challenge. I am very new to this. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  5. juliathorley says:

    You should definitely make time for yoga. It will actually give you time in the long run, because you will go back to your desk relaxed and refreshed and hence more productive.

  6. Ooo! Not sure I can face a wall…I’m one of those folk who has to sit in the chair facing the door. I know, it’s totally weird.
    I get what you mean when you say the fictional world seems more real than the ‘real’ world. I don’t get that feeling enough, it’s only when I’m on my WIP daily for a few hours or more, and currently, I can’t achieve that…
    Brilliant that you’re up to 800 followers.

  7. Helen Yendall says:

    Thanks Maria, although as you’ll see from my next post, I’ve actually lost a few in the last week! 😦

  8. philippabowe says:

    Hi Helen, agree with you about the importance of the bubble, and admire your discipline! I do go to a pilates class (plus African dance plus qi gong) every week, as I don’t think my mind and body would function as well without them…;-)

    • Philippa, I haven’t made it to the pilates class yet but Wednesday this week is in the diary! (and as I’m going with my friend/neighbour, it’s harder to duck out!). Am sure it will do me good. I managed 6 hours work today on my draft, which is probably the most I’ve ever done. Am in a bit of a ‘daze’ now. Where has the day gone? A weird feeling! I’m impressed by your African dancing, by the way! Sounds very exotic!

  9. philippabowe says:

    Well done for the 6 hours – very intense, so daziness is normal!
    I’ve been dancing for a long time and couldn’t do without it, it lifts the body and the mind!

    • Yes, I’d love to do some dancing if I could find the right kind of class. I did actually make it to pilates last week and enjoyed it, so this could be the start of a new, more ‘class-focussed’ me!

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