Habits, Conditioning, and Change

In the past year, I’ve been lucky enough to go from a commute-from-hell (nearly 55 miles each way, randomly taking between 1.25 hours and 3½ hours each way, depending on conditions, and usually involving either random carpoolers or public transportation issues) to working “locally” (okay, for me that was a 20-mile commute that was consistently less than ½ hour) to full-time work-from-home as of mid-November.  And I am VERY grateful.

The change in my daily/weekly schedule has been a bit harder to adjust to than I expected.  Writing has been sporadic, and focusing on plot issues has been difficult.  However, with all the changes in my life, combined with the holidays, I’ve been explaining it away.  (Well, when I haven’t been panicking over never being able to write again.)

My “commute” time is now simply taking the kids to school, so I have them with me in one direction, and use Bluetooth to check in with various family members in the other direction.  However, once a month, we have meetings at the office Headquarters.  In December, it was combined with the office holiday party, so driving home wasn’t like one of my old “normal” commutes.  However, January’s meeting was yesterday, and I ended up having to pick up riders to be able to use the carpool lanes and head home at the height of rush hour.

As I headed down the road, I suddenly realized I was working on plot points and reworking dialog in my head, trying to find ways to spice up the action in a section of one of my manuscripts.  Stuff I haven’t been able to PRY out of my brain for weeks.

It occurred to me that commuting had always been my brainstorming time.  For years, drive time was my only uninterrupted, nonwork, nonkid personal space/time.  With all the right ‘cues’ in place, the story started flowing again.  Hey, at least it proves my creative brain isn’t actually broken.  Now all I have to do is retrain myself to make use of new opportunities.

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