For the thinking-through-writing kind, their output (at least in diary-uncensored-text form) is highest the more stuff they have going on. For the second kind, the more impressions bombard them, the less they write. There is no time to process.
I always thought I belonged in the first group because I am a typical woman (according to linguist Deborah Tannen) in that I speak to think. With the move to Qatar, I found myself tiptoeing around my Wunderlist reminders that prompted me to write on Book 2 of the Rule of Thorns series (following last winter’s release of Hedge Games) and to blog at least once a week. There was so much to share: about moving to a different country, a different culture, coping with children when all their toys and usual distractions are packed away, traveling over the ocean.
Snapshots of supermarkets aisles packed with detergent that shows women in black garb, from head to toe. Gender equality in so far, as the guys get their own shelf with white-washing detergent for their pristine white tunics. That’s not a blogpost, but bewildering for a freshly made expat: How can there be no detergent for wool and no eco-friendly one, but five different kinds for black clothes, especially for abayas, the regional women’s dress here?
Throne-like chairs in the waiting area of the Al Ahli hospital. A hospital with valet parking and a coffee/tea-freebie service which is served to you wherever you wait. And you do wait. For hours. Because the system ate your appointment, because you’re a walk-in and don’t know any doctors yet … Also not a blogpost, but something that shaped my perception of this country from the sheer amount of time I spent there since coming to Qatar.
Driving in Qatar — aargh. Strange roadsigns … My fav sign is a little sheikh who warns you that ahead, there are “Road Surprises”. I guess they use it when all the regular signs (Road Closed, Construction, Pavement eroded, …) are all used up ;-)
While moving abroad, there is no time to process
We need to borrow a leaf from the other group of writers!
Input = output.
Or the new impressions will keep filling you, overfilling you. And as it goes with overfilling, the stuff that gets spilled is lost.
When moving to New York for a longer internship, I was so damn sure that I could still capture all my impressions after I had gone back home. There was simply too much to see and do to sit down and write! Only after running into other authors and hearing their prodding to keep a journal, did I jot down at least bare bones every few days: What did I go to see today? Was there something special going on? Weather, food, odd sights on the street, …
These notes, starting halfway through my stay, are now more or less the only detailed memories of my 7 months in New York, the rest is simply a rush of vague impressions. And vague always sucks in terms of writing, be it blogposts or novels.