For those of you who read my first blog post, you will recall that I mentioned the importance of finding a space that works for you when you write. I feel like this is something that I wanted to reflect on for today’s blog post.
In case you were wondering, I am not currently in my ‘writing space’ at the moment. I do not have a salted caramel hot chocolate next to me. I am not surrounded by books. I am not on a moving train. These are just some of the things that contribute to the space around me being write-worthy.
When I talk about a writing space or a zone, or a special place for writing, I’m talking about something that I hope most writers will understand. I’m talking about that place you like to go to, those sweets you like, the headspace that just works for you, and so on. That is how I was able to write two thousand words in forty-five minutes (ONCE!), and that is how you can too.
I know that every writer will, sooner or later, experience writer’s block. Or writer’s lack-of-enthusiasm. Or whatever. The thing is, sometimes we really don’t want to write. Sometimes we’re depressed, or moody, or angry, or uninspired, or even all of those things. Maybe none of them. Whatever the cause, we aren’t going to feel like writing all the time.
This is where it will come down to your reason for writing. I understand that there are a lot of different reasons that we can write as people, but I’m talking about intention. Do you want your writing to be the focus of your life? Do you want it to be one of your top priorities? It comes down to how much you want it, once again.
Like with work, we’re not going to be inspired to achieve all the time. Many people bear the poor fortune of working in a job that they do not enjoy. It can be a struggle to get through the day, and even things that we enjoy can have some of their life sucked out by their association with money. When you do something for a living, you can’t just work whenever you feel like it. It’s not as simple as having happy days here and there because you decided the world is too much at the moment.
Discipline is what I’m talking about. Now, I’ll quickly admit that I’m not that disciplined, either. It’s something that I continue to work on, and something that I always strive towards, but I’m making progress. So far it’s writing at least once a week regularly, rather than just doing NaNoWriMo. You can take baby steps. It’s important to have a vision of where you want to go and what you’re going to do to get there.
Then it’s up to you. You have to choose to write when you feel less-inspired. You can’t always get to your special writing space. If it were up to me, I would be on a train, surrounded by books, with an endless flow of hot chocolate. That is my writing zone. We can’t always get that space. Tough. I have learned to write a little in my bed, but it’s always uncomfortable, and it feels… unnatural.
I learned to write on a train because I used to write all the time on my way to university. I became so accustomed to doing that as my go-to activity that I relied on that train time for my writing time. When on holidays or when I finished uni, I was no longer able to write for long periods of time. Sometimes you’ve just got to force yourself. I can’t catch the train aimlessly every day, but I can still write. I used to listen to music when I wrote, and I can still do that at home.
The thing is, you can make your own zone. It’s not as simple as proclaiming you have a new writing zone, setting down your flag and flexing your fingers. It takes time and work and you have to be persistent. Choose a space where you know you can write fairly regularly. Get used to what it’s like. Associate it with your writing. Come to look forward to using that space for your creative talent.
Even if you only write three words one day, that is a day that you have written. Baby steps, like I said. Now, writing three words a day for the rest of your life admittedly won’t get you very far, but if you live another sixty years you’ll still have a novel at the end. Writing is always about the long haul, not the short-term sprint.
Also, understand that your zone won’t always work for you. There are other things that can be going on in your life that might really affect your writing. You might feel blocked and stuffy. That’s okay. If you can only manage a tenth of your normal quota, that’s alright. The important thing is that you write.
So first ask yourself: why do I write?