Truth is, it’s not just water that does it to me. But my story turned out to be longer than I originally intended and I didn’t want to take too much of your time. So I decided I’d write the rest of the story today.
When my writing is going well which, thankfully, it usually does, I get totally caught up in it. And it’s not a new phenomenon. It didn’t just start when I began freelancing. It was the same when I went to an agency every day and worked full time.
Even when I was a partner in a start up and we had an open concept office — none of us had private offices — nothing ever distracted me. I was completely unaware of what was going on around me. I didn’t notice anyone coming or going. I didn’t hear phones ringing or the door opening and closing. I didn’t hear people talking. Or laughing. I didn’t know whether the TV was on or off. Whether music was playing or not. Most of the time I was totally unaware someone may have been standing over me, trying to get my attention. I was that absorbed.
But only when I was writing. If I was reading or doing other work it wasn’t the same. But the minute I worked on copy, I was in another world.
And it was the same throughout my career. I never knew what time it was. Or whether it had gotten dark outside. Or whether I’d worked right through lunch. In fact, it would usually be 8:00 or 9:00 or even 10:00 o’clock, at night, when I’d suddenly look up from my computer and find I was the only one left in the office. That, I have to say, I found a little creepy. I never liked being alone, in the office, late at night. But it usually happened because I was so caught up in what I was doing, I didn’t realize everyone had left. Despite them always stopping by to say “Good night” to me.
Although, after a gal a friend of mine knew very well was murdered in her office after hours, I made it a point to take my work home with me. Believe it or not, her office was not even a half block away from mine. There was a cafe in the lobby of her office building where I used to buy my coffee every morning. She’d gone in on a weekend to get some work done, and just like that, her life was snuffed out. They caught the guy. It was the building janitor. But it didn’t bring her back, unfortunately.
That put an end to my staying late at the office on my own. But not to getting lost in the words.
Where I am, when I’m writing, doesn’t matter. The outcome is always the same. The minute the words start to flow, I’m gone. It doesn’t matter if I’m home. Or at Starbucks. Or sitting on a bench in the park. On a plane. On a train. Or at a client’s office. When I’m in front of my computer, I’m totally oblivious to everything but what I’m doing. I’m only aware of the words on the screen. To the thoughts and ideas in my mind. And, like with water, it completely relaxes me. I’m calm. Peaceful. Loving every minute. Co-workers always used to tell me they liked to watch me work, because I always had a smile on my face.
I know this sounds very la-la land, but it’s almost as if I become one with my computer. Nothing else exists. Just the story. The characters. The dialogue. The rhythm of the words. The drama. The humour. The memories. The sentiment. The joy. The sorrow. The idea. The point. The moment. Whatever I’m sharing or explaining or remembering or recounting.
Hopefully it will always be thus. Because to have something to turn to, that brings life to a screeching halt, while I’m engrossed in doing what I love to do, is the most wonderful gift I could ever receive.
Writing makes me happy. And no matter how many hours I’m at it, I’m never tired when I finally call it a day. Or a night. I’m always refreshed. And rejuvenated. And still I’m always glad to come back down to earth. To the world around me. It is, after all, where my ideas come from.