B.I.C. And also, B.O.C.

This strange thing has been happening to me lately. I plant my butt in the chair and I write. And the writing goes well. And when I’m done writing, I close up shop and walk away from the desk. And as soon as I do, WHAM. Everything I should have done with that section I just wrote flashes in my brain with stark clarity.

You’d think that, given the time I’d just spent writing, my brain would have offered up that idea and vision, you know, while I was working.

But no. It’s only when I’m out of the chair, walking away from the desk, moving on to the next thing, be it dinner or laundry or jumping rope with my daughter, that I can see. Oh, that’s what I should have done. Or, Oh, that’s where it’s headed.

I told my guru about this and he said it was a good thing. That I’m sensitive to what the text wants instead of forcing it into places it doesn’t want to go.

But why is it happening away from the work?

See, I’m a big believer in the whole The Writer Is The One Who Stays In The Room philosophy.

“The most important thing a writer can do after completing a sentence is to stay in the room. The great temptation is to leave the room to celebrate the completion of the sentence or go out in the den where the television lies like a dormant monster and rest up for a few days for the next sentence or to go wander the seductive possibilities of the kitchen.” – Ron Carlson

So I stay in the room as often and as long as possible. And I write and rewrite and work and rework. And then I stand up and walk away from my desk and immediately see what I should have done and where I should go next. Ugh!

It’s frustrating. But it’s also becoming reliable. So I’m going with it. When I’m not sure what the next sentence is, I relax my attention to it. Go get a glass of water or jump some rope. Because, sure enough, five steps away from the desk, there it is: the answer I was looking for.

Does this happen to anyone else? Or just me?

So, this being our B.I.C. (Butt In Chair) week, I say yes, of course, keep your butt in the chair. But also be willing to be B.O.C. (Butt Out of Chair) to see if that doesn’t keep you writing as well.

(Just don’t tell Mr. Carlson I suggested that, okay? Thanks.)