By: Kyle Pratt, Graduate Student Tutor
The Writing Nomad
A steel table was set up by the the brook. I planted myself on one of the cold chairs. The big willow tree that lined the brook casts a perfect shadow. It engulfed the table in a cool shade. The sun was high in the sky and the babbling of the water took my mind to the promise land. A land where motivation dances with inspiration in an Argentine tango we writers like to call ‘Productive Writing.’
Every time I need to produce something I go back to my brook in Bristol, Connecticut. However, now that I have removed myself from my brook, I can feel my mind calling for it. So when I first moved to this concrete jungle that is New York, my writing process was greatly affected.
I became a writing nomad. Always packing my bag with pens filled with the ink of inspiration, papers made from the trees of dreams, and pencils filled with carbonized procrastination and desperation. Granted, now that all comes in a tiny, thin machine that I keep on my lap. But I digress. I would move from place to place, hoping to strike “writer’s gold.” I traveled to go to the library, where I thought I would let the quiet take me to the promise land. I would set up my table filled with my tools. As I picked up the pencil and touched it to paper, I felt the motivation seep through my brain into the pencil and out onto the paper. However, the pages remained blank. I then thought I needed to be around the hustle and bustle and noise. Clearly if silence didn’t work, general noise would foster me a path into the heart of progress. I picked up my tools, slung my knapsack over my shoulder and walked my brain to the next destination. Clearly I needed to be around other people. The voices in my head were too loud when I was alone drowned in silence. But I set up my cave and prepared for my journey anyway. This time my mind wandered as much as my eyes. My pages ran white and didn’t even try to touch my pen. I just people watched. Making stories about the girl that was huffing and puffing, the guy that shouted like he was banshee…. So I packed up yet again. My feet grew weary and my pen had already dried up. I wanted to lament and mourn my potential writing that was wasted over the last few days. I sat under the trees, I felt the wind, I heard the sounds of shoes passing by. I was floating in limbo. One foot was in the silence and serenity of nature, the other in the bustle of cars and people. It was this limbo, bordering on an over-sensory explosion, that caused the ink to flow. My pen ran on the page, my fingers furiously typed, my mind raced faster than the cars zooming pass. Two hours within this space, I finished three poems, two abstracts, and an outline for another project. My mind felt lighter.
There are intricacies you never think about until they slap you in the face. So find your place. Find the place that borders both inspiration and motivation. Once your mind is free to roam in an area that promotes such things, your own process will start to flourish. Writing and the process of writing is so personal (not that anyone actually disputes this). The journey to find your own process is as rigorous as finding yourself as a person. Our writing is a direct reflection of us and this journey.