Being a writer might not exactly be a conformist thing to do, but each writer has his own comfort zone. First of all, you go at it alone. All those thoughts, words and sentences you transport to paper or your word processor, your room (or corner) for thought, your morning runs, favourite cafe, family, the surroundings that give you that ‘space’ to work and operate. A comfort zone.
And yes, that comfort zone can create the necessary stillness you need, but at times it does create a still water — it has its limits and boundaries and it can create a stillness of thought, imagination or no imagination. Sure travel will often do the trick, but what about the so-called big events, with a lot of people around you, a crowd, a mass, an event that requires you time to get there and obeying not only pre-set rules of the event but also the unwritten rules of being in a crowd?
You certainly need those with all the benefits of an exciting and intriguing live event like The North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, The Netherlands I try to attend every summer, but also with all its drawbacks of getting there and being in a crowd. It gives you a chance not only to clear your mind of all the “still water” of your comfort zone but is a source of boundless ideas.
Whether it is the excitement of listening to some exquisite music live, like the combination of saxophonist Charles Lloyd with guitarist Bill Frisell, or all those drawbacks, like infinite lines in front of the restrooms or food/drink stalls to your feet getting stuck in tons of spilt beer. But most of all it is having an interaction with people. The musicians, staff, the crowd. Separating them and observing them as individuals they are and the possible (and impossible) stories they might hold in them.
Yes, it does take an effort, it certainly disrupts your daily routines — what about the thousands of those emails you have to sift through when you get back — but it not only represents the necessary change of scenery, it gives you strands of writing inspiration that you might not have picked up in any other way.
To learn more about me, please check my LinkedIn page at www.linkedin.com/profile/preview?locale=en_US&trk=prof-0-sb-preview-primary-button.