Courtesy Bill Waterson

Think outside the box.

What a lovely little snippet of corpspeak. It’s crept into the common parlance as not only a means to go about solving problems and finding solutions to problems, but also to critique any thinking that’s considered too mainstream or commonplace for the issue at hand. Basically, being ‘inside the box’ is seen as a bad thing. But I don’t think that’s necessarily the case.

Writers can be fickle creatures, especially if they write fiction. Being full of ideas and imagination, they have a habit of becoming easily distracted. In fact, it may seem at times that a given writer is willing to do anything but write. “Oh, is that a new game? Have I seen this cat video before? There’s something else humiliating on television?” So on and so forth.

Sometimes, the best way to get a writer to write is to stuff ’em in a box.

The stores that are not yet written are not going to write themselves. Bringing them to completion requires time and discipline, and in order to hold onto both of those, sometimes one must become isolated, relatively speaking. The degree to which this isolation occurs is up to the individual, and can vary, but it really comes down to shutting out whatever you need to shut out. It can be as simple as shutting down the social networking and Youtube browsing for a bit, or you may need an entire setup away from anything even resembling a distraction.

It’s also a measure of respect for anyone the writer happens to live with. Saying your a writer is all well and good, but in addition to getting published, the proof is in the pudding: it’s easier for people to accept that you want to turn this weird-ass “hobby” into a career if they see you writing. If you’re not writing every day, you go from being a writer in the perceptions of others to that live-in wacko who mutters to themselves and smells funny. It seems to me from experience that folks do appreciate the effort made by the writer when they are writing, even if meals need to be poked towards them with a stick while they’re inside the box.

Obviously, a little isolation goes a long way. You can’t forget to emerge from your grotto to do things like eat. And eventually your energy is going to be tapped for the day and it’ll be time to set the work aside (unless you’re really on a tear, in which case by all means, go nuts). But every hour spent inside that box is another hour closer to your goals. It lets you hammer out the dents in your story, smooth over rough patches for your characters, untangles knots in your plot, and generally provides a great many more benefits than the cost incurred by being away from Twitter and Facebook for an hour or two. You will get more accomplished, and just as importantly, you will feel more accomplished.

Basically what I’m saying is that corpspeak is for suckers, and the box is your friend. Climb in, and get some shit done.