Thursday, February 02, 2006

Escape Therapy for House Box Syndrome

My inlaws are leaving town tomorrow, meandering off for parts undiscovered. I have pretty awesome inlaws, so you won't hear me rejoicing about their leaving (and I'm not just saying that because they might happen upon this blog post someday!). They love to travel, and so do I. This spring I'll take the kids to an amusement park; I'm heading to a writers' conference this summer; and we're already planning a big family vacation for November.

What I really should be doing, however, is making plans for now, because I'm pretty sure I've developed a nasty case of House Box Syndrome (HBS). If you work from home and have been less productive than you should be, maybe you have it, too. What is it, you ask?

HBS is my definition for what happens to a writer when s/he works out of the house 24/7. Your characters become as predictable as the mail lady, your plots as interesting as a dust gathering and your enthusiasm for tackling your manuscript is right up there with cleaning the litter box. Everyone’s different, no doubt, but HBS builds up in me like a toxin until it handicaps my muse.
Four walls, a roof--yep; it seems a lot like a box to me right now.

My favorite remedy for House Box Syndrome (HBS) is to escape to a B&B or Inn for a few days, work and recoup. Some of my best ideas come to me when I'm out of my normal environment, away from my routine. It doesn't have to be anything so formal though. Hit the library for the day or sit in a restaurant and jot down some new ides.

Hey, wasn't that how JK Rowling wrote the beginnings of Harry Potter? I wonder if it's too late to tag along with my inlaws?


Blogger Kathleen Bolton said...

I think Elena sent us a link talking about the long horror of winter, and that now is the time of year when the gloom really affects people. WAD, Weather Affected Disorder, light deprivation, whatever, I'd really like a dose of natural light.

I have the opposite problem of HBS, I'm not home enough, but I think it's important to keep varying the people we see, the places we go, because the best ideas always come out of being pushed out of the comfort zone.

Maybe I can find a new reality show to obsess over.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Elena Greene said...

I've lost that link now, but it was about people being depressed at the end of January. Low light was definitely a factor. Important to get out whenever we can, I just wish this stupid rain would stop so I could go skiing!

Re working from home, my own biggest challenge is not so much boredom but getting distracted by other things that need to be done. I've found it's CRUCIAL to keep my writing space reasonably free of clutter and especially things like bills or other household paperwork. And also to have a ritual (mine is lighting a candle and putting on instrumental music) to help me transition from task mode to creative mode.

Elena :)

7:46 AM  
Blogger thea mcginnis said...

hey, i heard more people are depressed on jan. 23 & 24 than any other two days of the year. to celebrate winter doldrums i strongly suggest a dose of champagne and a gathering of women friends. i did this - and asked all of them to bring along their creative works in progress. we were all treated to fabulous watercolors, pastels, museum quality needlework, poetry - all accompanied by champagne and intelligent women-browed conversation. these women all have families, busy jobs or run home-based businesses - but no matter what we 'do' or where, we rely on each other for succor from the january bla's!

2:30 PM  

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