Today, I'm older, wiser, and when I seek out a relationship with another human I look for steadiness, calm, reliability. You know, those boring things that often get taken for granted. I think writing has become the same over the years. Between deadlines, due dates, and marketing, I barely have time to put down words. And when I do it's like pulling teeth. Like trying to schedule a date when you have a five kids under the age of six.
In my younger days my writing was flash-like. I'd sit down with a notepad, a pen, and go for hours. 5,000 words a t time without stopping. It was a rush, and it made me feel like Jack Kerouac --a feeling I hope everyone has at least one point in their life. In my later years (yes, I know I am still young) while I'd love a good romp with the keyboard at 5,000 words a go...but I rarely get that.
It's mostly about time, but it's also about that spark. I do miss the heat, the passion, but now...when I sit down to write...I want a steady pace, a schedule, consistency. Again, all those things we take for granted. So...today's post is about bringing back that spark and helping establish that consistency without losing the fire.
While yes, I know the muse often doesn't work on a time clock , the human body is a remarkable piece of engineering. If you sit down at the same time everyday to eat lunch in the same spot, you're body already knows what's about to happen, and muscle memory kicks in and you can eat lunch, likely while glued to your iPhone without a second thought. But, let's say a meeting is scheduled and you have to miss your usually lunch time. Your body is going to make sure you know that hey, it's time for lunch (insert Bubble Guppies song here).
Your body can do that for you too when it comes to writing. Schedule a time you sit down everyday. Plan it, and then do it. To make it stick you can start small. Plan 10 minutes. One ten minute set a day where you sit down and put words on paper. If you are having trouble figure out where the resistance is. At what point, and what action are you taking, where you say "screw it I won't" and then try to alter than behavior.
2. LIVE INSPIRATIONALLY
No, that's not from a bumper sticker. As a creative mind you constantly need input. It can be from people watching on the bus, or listening to your favorite show while you work. Whatever you find inspiring. Line up post cards on your desk, get a special writing pencil, have the same hot beverage. Do what you need to do to put your mind in a creatively receptive place.
(Yes, gratuitous Jensen Ackles might help)
3. CHANGE IT UP
If you've got the habit but no mojo, change up your atmosphere. A jerk to the system can sometimes help put a little spark back in. Take your notebook to a local coffee shop and people watch. Or go to the park, a diner, your front doorstep. Doesn't matter really as long as you enjoy being there and it helps. Don't be afraid to try new places, mix it up every day if you need to.
One reason I love Pinterest, besides the little chuckle I get when I see my Dad pin something, is for storyboarding. Visualizing characters, scenes, and important artifacts from your story might help spark something in your mind. You can use old fashioned Google, or magazines. I like Pinterest because once my story is written it's fun to share with my readers...so they can see where it began and what the piece looks like in my mind.
5. DON'T OVER DO IT
The mind is a delicate instrument. You could feel perfectly normal, but if you are facing extreme stress or a ridiculously demanding schedule, your brain can short circuit on you. Revolt if you will, and your body along with it. Try to fit writing time in, of course, but also take care of yourself physically and mentally. It will help you produce faster, and more work, when you do.
On a final note...it's ok not to feel that aching fever in your blood when you write. It's perfectly fine to sit down with a sensible outline and put words on the page according to schedule.
BONUS: READ A BOOK
That one seems obvious to me. But, everyone has THAT book that makes them want to write, or gives them word envy. Keep it with you for quick jolt of inspiration. If you need an idea try my favorite, 'Zen and the Art of Writing' by Ray Bradbury.
How about you? Do you have any books that make you want to write or give you word envy??