January 27, 2012

Savor Silence?

My New Year’s resolutions always include 1) create more writing time and 2) be a more effective advocate. There’s an inherent tension between these two goals. When I avoid e-mail and devote myself to a writing project, ah! I feel a special pleasure since I relish the time to create on the page, to explore the possibilities of an evolving manuscript. I love to write which for me means: I need quiet.

Some authors manage to write in coffee shops and cafes while I’d stop the refrigerator motor if I could. I savor total silence. A professor who teaches my book, Zing! Seven Creativity Practices for Educators and Students to future writing teachers tells me that the students are most uncomfortable with the second suggested practice: Enjoy quiet. “Really?” I ask surprised. It seems that quiet made the students uncomfortable, nervous. Indeed, their world is probably full of noise--radio, iPods, music in restaurants, elevators, bars, malls; and group sessions in all areas of education and the work place.

A recent article in The New York Times, “The Rise of the New Groupthink,” includes Picasso’s words, “Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.” Eek! Again in 2012, I say to myself, “Pat, you’ve got to create more quiet for writing. Stay off e-mail.”

It’s not that I like e-mail (except with family and friends), but it is my connection to the amazing and committed advocates with whom I have the honor to work.

Human creativity is amazing and given our diversity—introverts/extroverts, tidy/messy, sober/silly, Type A/Type B, etc.—we need varying circumstances to produce our unique work. Important as sharing bookjoy is to me, though, I long to write more and better, so: silence in my future.

What do you need to be creative?

(photo credit: Silence by wickednox1)

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