It’s Try Something Different Day!

No, that’s not a real holiday. I just made it up.

I got a new computer for Christmas, intending to use it only for photo editing and the general playing-with of photos. My little Macbook Air is wonderful in innumerable ways, especially for writing, but it doesn’t like big honking jpeg files being crammed by the thousand onto its hard drive. Nor does it like Photoshop Elements.

Anyway, this new laptop is free of the psychological baggage that goes with years of less than productive writing habits such as checking email, checking email again, popping onto the internet for just a second to look up some oh-so-important fact, checking Facebook, checking Twitter, checking email again… Using it is like sitting down at a new desk, in a new office, with a lovely new view from the window, and getting busy on refreshing new work.

Because my laptop computer is my desk, office, and window all rolled into one handy little device, it’s by far my most important writing tool. I began writing on the new laptop (just because the newer version of Word fascinated me), thereby breaking my self imposed rule that the old computer would be for writing, and the new computer would be for photography and fun. And the words flowed.

And flowed, and flowed some more.

The lesson here isn’t that if you’re stuck, you should buy a new computer. Rather, it’s that it never hurts to change things up a bit. On a regular basis, try changing your work location to another room or outside, or switching from computer to paper and pen, or moving from home to a cafe. Or all three. Try writing with a fancy new pen, in a beautiful journal, or try writing on notebook paper with a pencil.

You’ll be surprised how sometimes these changes can jar you into a new feeling of creative flow. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it does. My favorite place to write is in the hammock under one of our redwood trees on a warm day. But do I get much writing done there? Not generally. It’s too relaxing. My least favorite place to write is sitting at a desk, but often I can get loads of work done there. And sometimes I can’t.

I have to remind myself to be aware of how a writing session is going. Does it feel like pulling teeth? Then it’s time to try something different.

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