Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Practicing Transition

These thoughts are a continuation of yesterday's post in which I confessed my difficulty with transitioning between activities or states of being. I'm determined to find a way to incorporate more than one of my passions into my life at one time.

I am so very grateful for the 70 Days of Sweat challenge last summer for having provided me the opportunity to reconnect with my passion for writing stories. And I don't want to loose it again. But this was made possible, in part, by the way I immersed my self in my story world to the exclusion of nearly everything else, averaging eight to ten hour work sessions with many that went past 24.

Meanwhile, other passions and enjoyed pastimes dropped away. Among them, reading fiction as I discussed yesterday. But there were many others including fine needle work, research not related to my story world, TV shows, computer games, walks, meditation, other writing projects, other web presence projects both old and new. And that doesn't even address the issue of the physical care of my person and surroundings. Yeah, you don't want to go there. TMI as my nephew likes to say.

This cannot be allowed to stand. Yet I must not loose that precious connection to that place where my stories come out to play nor the habit of daily interaction with it. So I'm in the process of working out what I'm going to do about it. I don't know exactly what it is going to look like yet. Some of it probably needs to grow organically out of the circumstances.

Dewey left a comment in last night's post suggesting a 'transition toolbox'. I like that concept and immediately knew of two things I would put in it. The first is a timer or two--one a software ap for my laptop, the other a physical one which I could transport to other rooms and outdoors.

The second tool is the concept of functional fixedness. It would be more apt to say that I need a compartment in the toolbox to collect a number of customized tools that make use of this psychological principle that when one thing is tightly associated with another, exposure to one can elicit the physical, mental and emotional states of the other. Something like Pavlov's dogs who learned to salivate at the sound of a bell.

I relearned this principle early in the first round of 70 Days of Sweat after remembering that I had always used to play my soundtrack to Twin Peaks at the beginning of my writing sessions with my Faye stories in the nineties. I posted about that several times in the last half of July. I think I even had a fleeting thought that I should try to find ways to apply the principle to other activities I found difficult transitioning in and out of. But I got distracted and then I got sick and then I spent the last month of the challenge feeling like I was on a hamsters wheel.

The triggering event doesn't have to be music. It doesn't even have to be a sound. It can tap any of the senses or several at once. It can be a location. It can be in the ordering of activities so that one always follows the other. I learned the term functional fixedness from Robert Owen Butler in his From Where You Dream which was compiled from his lectures on the process of writing fiction.

That is one of the first books I'm going to send for as soon as the libraries open in two weeks.

0 tell me a story:

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