April 24, 2007

Trains and planes: creativity bursts on public transportation

I just got back from a business/pleasure trip to Philadelphia. I took Amtrak from Union Station in D.C. to Philly; a 2-hour train ride. I cannot believe how much work I got done on the train! It's not just the amount of time I spent writing; I was able to revise my book in a much more creative way. What is it about public transportation that is so conducive to creativity, at least writing creativity, for me?

One Writing Club member had this opinion:

I think people get work done on public transportation because we surrender our control to the driver of the vehicle, which frees us to focus on our other concerns. Also, being in a bubble of sorts (a train car, a bus, a car) kind of feels like a safe place. The fact that the trip won't last for ever puts a limit on how much a person will work (an outside timer or sorts).

I agree with everything she says. There is something safe about knowing that you are waiting for a specified period of time, in a place where there are few distractions, that jumpstarts previously blocked areas of the brain. Any other ideas?

I just wish I could bottle it and take a spoonful today...

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