This week’s writing tip isn’t so much about the act of writing as it is about the the act of BEING a writer.
As I progress on my countdown of remaining days at the day job in cubicle confinement (10 working days left) I am trying to envision my ideal writing life….to picture now how I want my days to unfold. Now even if you aren’t a touchy feely new age sort of person I still challenge you to give this some thought. Because the thing is, if we have a picture in our mind of how we want our life to unfold we have a much better chance of it actually happening.
Several people have me asked me lately about my process which in turn has gotten me thinking more about my process. And here’s the thing…I have always written in the middle of stress, a time when my life or parts of my life, were spiraling out of control. Sometimes it seemed that the crazier my life was, the more I wrote. And now I am approaching a calmer part of my life. I will not be working outside of the home. I won’t be getting up to an alarm clock. I won’t have staff meetings with agendas waiting my doodles. I can’t help but wonder how this will affect my writing because I know it will. I don’t know if I know how live in a world with so much less stress (but hey, I am willing to learn.)
Just because you have all the time in the world doesn’t mean you have all the time in the world to write.
So these last few weeks of work I am trying to find the time to imagine the writing life I want to have in order to get the writing life I most want to live.
I have never been a stay-in-bed morning writer but perhaps I’ll try that, at least for some "morning pages" ala Julia Cameron.
I have never been a go to the library/coffeehouse/park with my laptop kind of writer but perhaps I’ll try it.
I have never been able to write in the company of others, especially friends, but I DO want to try that.
I want to try to go gently to the writing each morning, starting the day, perhaps, with some reading in the inspiration notebook I want to create.
I want to take breaks to visit the garden, pull a few new chunks of Bermuda grass and see what bugs have discovered the yard.
I want to play with a new writing exercise every day, just to warm-up my writing muscles.
I want to rediscover my lifelong love affair with words in such a way that I can’t wait to get to work each day.
I want to take time to smell the flowers, play with the dog, listen to music, go for long walks and just sit in blessed silence.
I hope this will help me create the writing life I have held in my mind for so many years.
I encourage you to think about the writing life you want to live, even if you aren’t living it now. If you think it, you just might make it so.
Susan, I needed this post today. Thanks!
For me, I think it’s about visualization. I need time each morning (and I haven’t gotten there yet) to actually picture myself as a professional, a person who takes this job of writing seriously and commit not only TIME to it, but steady, constant focus and energy. I’m finding that I keep trying to throw myself head-first into the day, just an oh, hey, get going kind of thing. And then I hit the bottom of the pool…crash!
Need to back up to some morning turtle steps, I think. Time to establish a pre-writing routine, maybe.
Yes, I’m with you on the visualization. Just taking 10 minutes to picture us as we want to be should really help.
I am also going to try and establish a pre-writing routine. I know whatever I do I need to allow some just sitting and thinking time. I don’t do that enough.
Things I need to write:
– Water. Lots and lots and lots of water. Preferably ice cold, and in a convenient bottle at hand.
– Comfort. My flat isn’t big enough for a true computer desk/chair, so I have to use what I have: namely my couch. But sometimes, you just cannot get comfortable.
– Clean. My lounge (where I have my computer) has got to be clean. Otherwise I sit and stare at it in despair. And when my Dad died about 6 weeks ago, it took over my lounge. I made strides today, but it still isn’t completely there. I have to get the TV out of here (spare, that was his, and I’m trying to sell) and clean out the closet corner, and then it’ll be my lounge again, not a storage space.
– Munchies. I munch while I write. Lately, I’ve been changing this from ‘crackers/chips/other’ to ‘cucumber/carrots/broccoli/whatever’.
This is what I need to write. Lately, I haven’t been getting it.
I need that comfort too. I’ve been on the couch too much because my office still isn’t just right. I hope when I am home more I can get it tricked out to suit me.
I’m sorry you’re not getting enough of what you need lately. Sigh.
This is lovely.
I agree that the act of actually *writing* can be very difficult, even when one has “lots of time.” Lots of experimentation helps, as long as those experiments produce written words.
— Brent P. Newhall
Yes, it is all too easy to waste away that writing time.
Not long now, Susan! Yea! Thank you for all the birthday kindness yesterday–you are a rock.
Lovely post. I’m going on a writing retreat next week, and this is one of the things that I will be pondering. Over the past year, my writing life has become too scattered, and because I have to earn a certain income, I can’t change that entirely. You know how that goes. But I do want to make some changes to reshape my days and feelings. Can’t wait to have a few spare hours to actually THINK about this!
Laura, you’re very welcome on the birthday wishes. It was fun to do!
Yes, it is that scattered feeling I want to avoid as well. I’m not sure how we accomplish that because of the need to make money. And then the balancing act that is never-ending.
Thinking time is so important…the time to just let the mind wander, not to try and force it to plot or think or a new money-making idea but just to ponder being a writer and what that means to us. I hope you get that time. I’m jealous of you going on retreat!
I am sooooooooo excited for it. Starts Tuesday!
I’m almost there to being free of the day job. Best of luck to you.
You’re wise to plan. I found that without planning and writing up that to-do list, I was just wasting time. Thanks for the post!