Getting In The Bubble

I don’t have a real physical space dedicated to writing. I often lament that I don’t have a private room to myself, with creatively soft green coloured walls, a desk just for me, a door that closes, a large window looking onto beautiful scenery, a board to pin up and refer to great ideas, a literal drawing board, inspirational quotes or photos on the walls, and a secret passage to a well-stocked wine cellar. But I share an open and rather cluttered one bedroom loft apartment with a perpetually-stressed grad student husband and an invasive species of cat, in the heart of downtown where storage space is a pipe dream and silence is a distant memory fast fading to myth.

So, when I want to write, I have to do my best to get into a bubble.

I often feel like this bubble in a crowd. Source: Creative Commons - Jesús López.
Source: Creative Commons – Jesús López.

Now usually being “in a bubble” is a bad thing. It means you are safe, yes, but unaware, naive, ignorant about the world around you to a fault. However, when I write, I need to be in a bubble.

This might mean I’m at home with headphones in and a hood up to insulate my hearing and peripheral vision. It might mean I’m in a coffee shop where everyone’s moving all around me and there’s lots of ambient noise but I myself am stationary and (usually) uninterrupted. I put up a fragile barrier so that I am still in the world, but the world is muffled and I can be willfully ignorant of it for as long as possible or as long as it takes to write what I want to write.

One of my favourite places to write is an airport. Everyone in an airport is coming or going, leisurely or in a hurry, but no one stays anywhere for long – unless they’re stuck there for a long time. Time itself is an evanescent concept in an airport. So I can go into my bubble, enjoy the transient atmosphere, and write to my heart’s content (as long as I’m not in danger of missing a flight). Some airports are better than others for this – Vancouver airport is beautiful and has tons of inspiring spaces and interesting passersby, for example. I used to live nearby and drive there sometimes just to write. Ottawa airport, on the other hand, doesn’t even have a proper map it’s so small and sparse and bland. Hooray for the nation’s capital!

While a bubble can help me write, the problem with bubbles is they are so easily popped. I would love that dream writer’s room I described above. But you have to work with what you have, so I have my bubbles, easily constructed anywhere.

What does your ideal writing space look like? What does your real writing space look like? Any tips for improving my bubble technique? 


Postscript: I’m more than a week into National Blog Posting Month / NaBloPoMo / Nano Poblano. Going strong, but today is a day for reaching out and asking you for ideas.

What would you like to see on this blog?

A mould breaker you’d like to see featured?

A mould you think needs to be broken?

A mould-busting or otherwise situation you’d like to see become a comic?

More ducks?

Let me know in the comments below or in private by visiting the cute kittens on my contact page! Thank you and happy Monday!

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4 thoughts on “Getting In The Bubble

  1. Janelle, you live amongst politicians and bureaucrats. I think it would be interesting to share some observations on mould breakers you’ve observed among these groups. Does it happen or are they swept up in the current of red, blue, orange and green?

  2. Driving to the airport to write, I haven’t heard that one before. 🙂 I once was stuck in Singapore Airport for 48 hours. If you’re going to spend two days in an airport that’s the one to do it in, as they have a free movie theatre that’s always dark and you can go in there and sleep.

    1. I lived about a 20-30 minute drive from the Vancouver Airport (not actually in Vancouver) at the time. I haven’t been to Singapore airport but I’ve heard it’s pretty great! Seoul airport (the new one) is pretty awesome as well, I always enjoyed going early when we were flying just to hang out. Cheers!

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