For the month of December I am going to try to participate in the Reverb 10 project. The idea is to respond to a daily prompt and use the opportunity to write or comment on that topic via a blog or twitter. Hopefully at the end of the month and year, a picture of the thoughts and concerns of a small segment of the online community will have been mapped and traveling that landscape will help us all navigate the year to come.
In that I only post things to the blog every few days, I’m afraid my responses will be probably brief and certainly often quickly thrown together. However, today’s prompt, from author Leo Babauta, has caused some more lingering musings.
“Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing – and can you eliminate it?”
My first response was to say that I am not a writer, and virtually everything I do every day “gets in the way” of writing. And I’m good with that. For the most part I would rather be making buildings than writing and I get to do that everyday. Along with that flippant first impression I thought “why of course everything contributes to my writing”. Which is stupid and certainly the author of the prompt, an actual author, knows what he is talking about and that kind of childish sentiment is not what he is getting at.
The sinking realization however is that although I am not a writer, I do find myself doing just that, if not every day then at least more than a few times a week. It does in fact get in the way of making buildings sometimes as the easiest excuse not to tackle yet another drafting task is to spend a few minutes writing another blog post. And I have to admit that the writing of the blog, which started 3 years ago as a bit of an experiment and maybe a little free marketing, has become significantly meaningful to me. I am not entirely happy at this prospect as I have spent some 20 years or so crafting my skills, honing my intuitions, to make the best possible buildings I can. I am unabashedly passionate about architecture and have to constantly reign in my enthusiasm to be even vaguely socially competent. To find myself occasionally distracted by writing is unfamiliar ground, foreign lands.
So I’ll turn that prompt around a bit and say that although writing does sometimes distract me from architecture, it has now become a necessary component, a lesser-traveled but parallel track to making buildings. I think as I get more comfortable writing in addition to drawing, they will be mutually reinforcing and the mental shift that writing demands will contribute to the process of designing in something other than a necessary distraction
(Have I sufficiently diverged from the prompt to wrap this up? I think so. Back to the drawing board. Really, I get to do that.)