“If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.“ — Hilary Mantel
Mantel passed away this week, leaving a vast treasure of her words to sift through. Writers are said to live forever, transformed into their words, so long as there are people to read them. In that context, we create our legacy one word at a time. So we ought to make those words as much our own as possible. Aspiring to the level of a Hilary Mantel is surely a worthy, if lofty, objective.
We all get stuck sometimes, and state change often clears that which blocks us. Any productive endeavor benefits from quiet focus time, we know this. My own productivity, thrown off by a schedule off kilter recently, would benefit from a return to structured quiet time.
Routine draws words from hidden places deep within us. Changes to routine inspire new ideas, shake old beliefs, and force a reckoning with priorities. Each serves us when balanced, and undercuts our potential when we tilt too far in either direction. Are we a one trick pony or risk merely surface-level understanding? The answer, always, is somewhere in between. It’s there where we may find those elusive lost words to piece together just so.