Not exactly a couch potato

For the last few years, since I started working on my writing seriously, I’ve been writing mostly in one of two places. I’m either at my desktop computer in my office at home, or I’m in the Sault Ste Marie library on the laptop.

These places have something in common: I’m upright in a chair at a desk or table. I consider this a Good Thing, especially if the chair is hard-backed, because I like to be sitting upright when I work. It’s probably some kind of latent control-freak thing.

A few months ago, however, I read in one of the two writers’ magazines I get (Writer’s Digest and The Writer) an article called “He’s No Slouch”. The article talked about how one writer wrote while lying on his couch, slouched against one end with his laptop on his stomach. He claimed that writing in this relaxed, unconventional posture helped him think differently and made his writing better – or at least different. Got him out of a rut. Unblocked his inner writer. Something.

At the time I dismissed it as  – I don’t know what. Placebo effect? Self-delusion? Mistaking post hoc for propter hoc (“after this” for “because of this”)? Coincidence? I don’t know why I did that, because we do have some evidence that the body affects the mind as well as the other way around. I also know that from my own experience.

Maybe I dismissed it because it seemed lazy to write lying down, although why it should be any lazier than writing sitting down is beyond me. It’s the writing, not the position, that matters, right? I don’t think that writing standing up is better than writing sitting down, do I? (No.)

I’m plodding away at the third draft of The Swan Harp, and “plodding” is, at the moment, the correct verb. There’s such a lot to write – new stuff, and rewriting old stuff, and some days it seems I’ve been working on this one novel forever. But last week I decided that, instead of sitting down in the office, I’d get out the laptop and write in the living room in the armchair where I usually read or knit.

It may be my imagination, but the work seemed to go more easily. It wasn’t a lot faster, or a lot easier, but it was some. Now I think that the change of writing venue may have joggled something loose in my imagination. I’m thinking more about the story, and things that confused me are falling into place a bit better.

The next thing I’m going to try is  – nothing. Thinking of nothing for five minutes, letting the monkey mind slow down and seeing what bubbles up. This is another idea from the pages of The Writer, and while I’m not generally a person who can do nothing for long, I think I’ll give it a try. After all, the not-sitting-upright trick worked really well. What have I got to lose?

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