Caffe Nero rocks! Plus, strategies for developing writer’s flow.

Just arrived in Cambridge for the conference an hour ago and am waiting for the cleaners to get to the house we are renting so they can let us in. Anyhoo, here I am at Caffe Nero, taking advantage of the free wifi. Here’s the thing. I’m pretty sure I’ve not used Caffe Nero wifi since 2008, when we were last in Cambridge. I’m not even aware of having set up an account. I just tried to set up a new account with my regular email client and lo! I am already on the system. Wow. And my password still works. Unnerving. Unfortunately the coffee is terrible.

Right now I should be working on my Methods chapter, and once I am in the house I will get stuck into it, but here, surrounded by the lunch crowd, it’s a bit noisy and I left my glasses in the car. Still, yesterday was an awesome day of work and I feel finally as if I am on the right track. Teaching and writing require two very different mind sets and I am aware now of being in a writerly mind frame. I’ve missed it and am wondering how I can more quickly get into this writerly brain as it took me 3 days to wind down from the travel – therefore losing about 5 days study time overall – and my capacity to concentrate for several hours is very poor.

Here are some strategies I’ve used in the past to get me beyond the 3 hour mark: standing and stretching and walking about; making a cup of tea; completing simple chores that take no more than 15 minutes; switching tasks momentarily from writing to reading. One of the problems of writer’s flow is that once it starts you don’t want it to stop, so you get “stuck” at the computer for hours on end, frequently needing a pee or some food and drink, and unwilling to get up. Another problem is that you can never predict when writer’s flow is going to hit, so you end up trying to emulate the best moments of flow which means you can spend hours sitting at the computer, enraged when flow is NOT happening.

So DH is due home after 6pm and our co-tenants are due to arrive any time now but they are currently attending a conference, which gives me several hours to set up home and my work station and just write. I have a strange suspicion that we may well have visitors and that our evenings could be quite lively. However, as I am not attending the conference I have plenty of time to walk the “Backs”, exercise, and write.

DH and I have co-written a bunch of papers together and now he has flung them into article form, and I’ve been looking over them prior to sending them out to journals for review. It’s great to see how fast he writes and how coherent his ideas are. It’s clear that 10 years out from his PhD he has mastered the art of article writing (minus some judicious editing and rewriting by yours truly). At the same time, I’ve been the creator of a few co-authored papers and the publications are slowly starting to pile up.

DH writes with admirable brevity and clarity, occasionally missing small words. I write reams and reams, often repeating myself, because I want to ram home a concept. Not sure if I’ll ever lose this tendency. To me it’s clear who is writing what, but as hubby and I discuss ideas more and our togetherness extends into the writing phase I feel that our writing will morph, too.

So, now that I have sufficiently unburdened myself, I can get on with the business of writing my methods chapter. Woohoo!




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