Monday, February 23, 2015

Fifty Shades of Write Away

by Jenny

Monday morning confession: I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey, and this essay, which appears in Write Away: A Year of Musings and Motivations for Writers (by Kerrie L. Flanagan and yours truly) is about as racy as I get. But it does include nudity, both literal and figurative, a Seinfeld reference, and a cameo by Bradley Cooper. (Okay, I lied about that last part, but it would be awesome because maybe he won an Oscar last night??)

Writing Naked

February 1st is Working Naked Day. Didn’t have it on your calendar, you say? Me, neither. I ran across it that morning while foraging in the Internet wilderness. According to Founder and Home Office Expert Lisa Kanarek, “Working Naked refers to the fact that when we begin working from home, we’re stripped of all of the corporate support that makes up our day-to-day existence.” It also means actually working sans clothing.

I wondered who would be crazy enough to do it. Upon further reflection, I realized that my work is writing (though it’s frustratingly pro bono these days), and I write at home. Maybe I should be crazy enough to give it a try. What the heck, I might learn something about myself in the process.

I gathered my nerve, and, after boys and husband were out the door and the dog was walked, I retreated to the privacy of my basement computer, fired up the space heater, stripped down to my slippers, and committed myself to one hour of nude writing. No joke. I really did.

How did it go? Let’s just say it was a looong hour, but I made it through . . . barely (excuse the pun). I wish I could say I felt liberated, enlightened, or even merely silly. But, frankly, it was an uncomfortable experience. And not just because I was freezing. In the spirit of the classic Seinfeld episode comparing “good naked” and “bad naked,” I confess I am not a fan of casual nudity. If the UPS man is ever going to surprise me in the buff (mine, not his), he’s going to have to deliver right to my shower door.

I’m certain that Working Naked Day will not be an annual event for me, but I’m glad I tried it. First of all, I was immune to my normal distractions. I had zero urge to wander up to the kitchen for a snack. The thought of answering the phone made me blush. So, I got a lot of writing done. It also made me grateful for all the times I don’t have to work naked, literally or figuratively. I may not have “corporate support,” but I’m so fortunate to have a great network of family and friends, and the wonderful Northern Colorado Writers community.

Last but not least, this experiment encouraged me to consider how much time I spend in my comfort zone. Like many writers, I love my comfort zone. If I, of all people, can work naked for an hour, I can certainly expand my writer’s horizons in other small ways. Fully clothed, of course.

What do you do to break out of your comfort zone?


April Moore said...

Great essay, Jenny! Both my husband and I work from home and I'm sure he'd love for us to embrace this yearly event (but on a daily basis instead). That won't happen. Kudos for giving it a try!

Patricia Stoltey said...

This post made me laugh out loud. I'm always so cold that I wouldn't last five minutes, even with the space heater going.

Anyway, breaking out of my comfort zone might be traumatizing. I'll have to think about that for a while.

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