Wednesday, July 06, 2011

A room with a view

Is the solution as simple as natural light?

I've been struggling when it comes to the other kind of writing I do, but I feel as though I've had a bit of a breakthrough the last two days. I've started my work days from home and attacked the writing with a nice, big sliding door to look out. I'm not necessarily gazing outside all that much, but I feel less confined, and thus more productive or creative(?), with it there. Wouldn't you know it, I cranked out some text that I think is better than what I've been squeezing out in recent months.

My office at work is in the interior of the building. There are no windows in my office. There are no windows in the space surrounding my office. I won't say that I don't see outside all day at work, but I don't see much of it. Since there usually isn't a reason to leave the building during the day, that means I'm under the fluorescent lights for the better part of daylight hours. Sometimes I think all that fluorescent light does affect how well I work and feel, although I'm not diagnosing myself with seasonal affective disorder or the like.

Light isn't the exclusive factor in writing struggles at the office. Sometimes it's the regular interruptions, sometimes it's the noise/conversations/etc. that I have to put up with. Closing the door isn't a particularly good option as the office gets warm pretty quickly. (My office's heating and cooling is tied to the big lounge right outside it. Rarely, it seems, does the two spaces seem to be in agreement when it comes to what the temperature should be.)

Almost no one is in the building during summer, so the department secretary said I could use an adjunct faculty office this afternoon if I liked. (Faculty offices have the windows.) I decided to try it out, and what do you know, I was able to focus in on the writing that remained.

Perhaps this is coincidental, or maybe there's something to it. My conclusion: whether it does have an effect or not, I need to switch up my routine when it comes to that particular writing. The old way of trying to write--in my office under the pressure of deadline while other tasks might pop up--hasn't been cutting it.



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