The Sunday Lao Tzu: Quiet Time

“Silence is a source of great strength.”


When I write, I like to be in a quiet place, physically and spiritually. On a day off, if I’m working on a blog post or getting some word count down, there will be no music on, and no sound to be heard apart from the soft tick of fingers on keyboard. It’s a simple fact that I’m not much of a multi-tasker, and I’m very easily distracted. It’s better for me just to switch off and work.

I find quiet time to be an important source of inspiration, too. I like to walk, wandering like a flaneur with no real sense of destination or purpose, content to see where the road leads. This will often put me in a contemplative mood. That’s the moment where ideas often arrive, or solutions to a narrative problem solve themselves. On occasion, a character has simply popped into my head and started talking. Because I’m quiet, I’m able to listen to them. Rory Armstrong introduced herself to me in this way. If I’d had headphones on, it’s likely that she would have been drowned out.

Being quiet, and open to the world around us, I think we’re much more likely to find inspiration and strength in everyday life. Sometimes, all you have to do is shut up for a minute and listen.