Shortly before I wrote this:
- I hadn’t had a decent writing session all week
- My schedule had been thrown off all week (first week of school, doctors’ appointments, my wife needed my help…)
- My blood sugar was about 50 points high
- I had a headache
- The music in the restaurant didn’t work for me
- There were kids screaming
- The wierdo across the way was straight up glaring at me…
In other words… not a lot of writing was getting done. I mean not a word of writing, not until I took charge of myself.
I did what I could. I drank some (diet) soda. I took some deep breaths. I prayed. I got my mind together.
And then, the words flowed.
- My schedule was still off
- My blood sugar was still too high
- I still had a headache (but the caffeine and stress reduction helped)
But, a different song came on. The kids found their way back to the play area. And, the wierdo found someone else to be mad at when I refused to take the bait.
The words flowed. Within minutes I wrote more than I had all week. And, I had ideas for what to write next.
Writing and writing…
There’s writing and then there’s writing…
- There’s writing you do because you have to
- There’s writing you do because you should
- There’s writing you do because you want to
- There’s writing you do because you can’t stop yourself (when you find this one, you’re a real writer and on your way to being a serious author…)
- There’s writing that’s two or more of the above combined.
The secret to getting any writing done is to put yourself in the mental space to write. You need to put yourself into a good physical space too. You need to have your supplies. You need to do your research. But, being in the mental space to write, getting past your fears, concerns and hang-ups and into a mental place where the words will flow is something you have to learn if you want to write.
Putting yourself in the mental space to write is a management thing. It’s a self-mastery thing. You need to develop skills to deal with outside people and things, and the determination and self-control to put you into the place to write.
Sometimes we all need to break out the (hopefully metaphorical) battering ram and break down the barriers that are keeping the words from flowing. The problem may be one big thing or lots of little things working in concert. Your problems might not be my problems (or maybe they are!). But, one way or another we have to deal with them if we want to write.
That’s what this series is about dear reader. It’s a conversation (I’d love to hear from you!) about making the words flow. It’s about putting body and mind in a place to write.
There are lots of things we can talk about and not nearly enough time to cover them all in one post. So, let’s start with something simple.
Priming the pump
One of the more annoying kinds of writer’s block is fear of the blank page. This one occasionally hits even those of us with lots of words under our belts. And, it’s one you can cope with.
If you’re writing long hand (like I do) pick up your pen (pencil, crayon, whatever…) and move your hand to the top right corner of the page and write the number ONE (1) in the corner (and circle it if you want…).
If you’re writing electronically type a 1 on the first line, then hit return (or just turn on page numbers…)
Good news, your page isn’t blank anymore!
There’s still more to do. It’s time to put words on the page.
If you’re having trouble writing about what you think you’re supposed to be writing about, give yourself permission to ‘stream of consciousness’ write.
Write what’s on your mind. If you trust the process, your writing will probably “find center” and (after editing) you’ll have a written something that you can use.
Even if your something isn’t a sellable piece, you have proven to yourself that you can create a stream of words from your mind to the page. You may have written something that will help you learn and understand. You may even have created something that other people will want to read, after you clean it up a bit.
Sometimes you really need to write on a specific topic. In those cases ‘stream of consciousness’ may not be the right technique. Here we need to delve into our self-mastery toolbox and move the stream. But that, dear reader, is another post.
We all have hard days. We all have times where it feels like the words aren’t coming. But, if we do our part, they will.
That’s it for this one dear reader. Good luck with your words, and… I’ll see you next post!