Getting unplugged, in writing, and in life. Finding the power of silence.

Does anyone remember when Eric Clapton turned the world of rock and roll on its head? It was 1992. He made an album called Unplugged.

While the world was listening to louder and louder music, and the electronics industry was developing all of these ways to make the sound pound our ears with so many decibel, Eric Clapton did the opposite, he pulled the plug.

I remember the album, so did many people. They loved it. There was a rush from other musicians to do the same, everyone was pulling the plugs on their amplifiers as quickly as possible. They all wanted to tap into this pure music that Eric Clapton had seemingly created.

But the funny thing was, Clapton didn’t create it, it was always there. He just turned down the noise. And we all loved it! We seemed to be ready for it.

I’m mentioning this, because I recently read a blog from Joanna Penn. I find her a talented writer, and her website is full of great tips for writers. In her blog, she stated how she is now using an App that blocks emails while she writes. I assume its to unplug from this world of distractions.

I for one find this world quite distracting. Somehow, as we’ve plugged into the Internet, which even I have a hard time going without on daily basis, where there are emails, and tweets to view, and sort, perhaps we, and that means me, have lost the simple fascination with silence. The ability to be without distraction.

Why do I say this? Well, many years ago, back in the 70’s, I entered a yoga Monastery. I spent close to 5 years there. What do you think we practised there? It was silence. The practise of letting the mind wander all it wants, until it got tired, and let you be you. Somewhere in there, the real self would emerge. A very quiet and silent self.

So now, 40 years later, I realize how sometimes it is better to unplug. From the internet, from Twitter, from Facebook, and all of the other distractions of the world, and go back to silence. I don’t know about you, but when there is silence, I get a feeling of who I really am.

Silence helps in my writing. I know so many people write to Jazz, blues, even rock and roll. I prefer silence. Just me, and the tapping of the keyboard. My mind provides all the company I need as I create plot lines, and characters. It’s quite busy in there.

So, perhaps if you’re like me, and you find the world a bit too much. Try unplugging. Look at Eric Clapton, he did it, and everyone thought he’d started a trend. How sweet was that?

I wish all of you writers many downloads, great reviews, and good writing.

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Lyle Nicholson is the author of four novels, two novellas and a short story, as well as several articles published in Canadian Magazines and Newspapers. His path to his writing was first as a terrible actor in a Johnny Cash movie, called Gospel Road. He played Andrew the Apostle and apologizes to all who see him in the movie.
He was also a disobedient monk for several years and left the monastery to work at several jobs he’d was highly unsuccessful at until he started his own sales agency, where he finally had success. This was to the delight of his wife and his mother.
He retired in 2011 and took up writing full time. He now lives with his lovely wife in Kelowna, where he writes, cooks and indulges in fine wines.