It’s one of those lovely days again and you’re off to play golf. You feel good and all is well with your world.
You tee off at the first and think to yourself, ’So what was that all about?’ ~ as you watch the ball disappear nowhere near the place you wanted it to go. You decide it’s first tee nerves and try again.
But oh dear, another rubbish shot followed very quickly by another. With each successive shot you feel your stress levels rising and your confidence falling.
As if that isn’t bad enough the harder you try the worse it gets. You find your jaw tightening, your neck and shoulders tensing and the first suggestion of a headache coming on. Your swing goes more off line and you begin to really dislike playing golf. Your brain goes into overdrive as you try to analyse yourself and you dread the remaining holes.
What’s going on and why is it happening? Why is confidence so elusive?
The writing process requires mind-space, comfort of body, a happy spirit and calm motivation. Well, that’s the theory.
The following is what has worked for me and that I share with my clients and, even though I do have a magic wand, your way is the one that will work for you.
Ritual is a good habit to instigate. It sets the scene: literally and metaphorically while, at the same time, alerting the muse. Maybe lighting a candle, preparing a glass of iced water or stronger, cartwheels around the garden or completing your asanas is the way.
Whatever works is good but it is not set in stone. I know writers who are unable to commit a word without their pre-work routine but it is important to not allow the ritual to rule you. You are in charge of you and it might be that just the intention is all you need and the words will tumble free-flow from your mind.
"It just shows what can be done by taking a little trouble," said Eeyore. "Do you see, Pooh? Do you see, Piglet? Brains first and then Hard Work."
The House at Pooh Corner
Yet another person has told me how lucky I am because my husband and I have just returned from a Greek island.
Many times luck is mentioned when I talk about writing. One person actually said, “You have a publisher? A real one? Gosh, you are lucky!”
I, apparently, have tons of luck that has resulted in my wonderful family, delightful friends, flourishing career and beautiful home in the country. How did it all happen?
Well, I was strolling about one day minding my own business when ‘wham’ it all fell out of the sky at my feet! Imagine that. Yes, dream on.
The process of writing and having a book published is like giving birth with all the same feelings. True, you can be a bit calmer after surviving the first as you know how the process works but although each experience is unique the similarities are there. As labour starts you get an instant wave of, 'Oh, I remember now!'
It goes something like this:
Foreplay – I want to write a book
Climax – I’m going to write a book. Are you with me ;)
Conception – The idea for a book has gelled
Incubation – I’m writing a book
1st trimester – I’m good at Solitaire
Worries – My book is rubbish
Recovery – My book is brilliant
2nd trimester – I’m also good at online Mahjong
Worries – What if they say no, get a real job
Mid-way – The publisher said yes
3rd trimester – My book is being edited, proofed and printed
Worries – What if they change their mind
Close to due date – Excitement and fear in a bundle
Closer still - Little shows and teasers
Labour – Might come early. Keep breathing
Birth – Push it out there and hope no one thinks it’s ugly…
I’ll keep you posted should I get any twinges x
Why is it hard to stop smoking? How can those little sticks of leaves cause such hardship and have so much power?
The majority of people who smoke began in their teens because it was a cool thing to do, smoking helped you to be one of the "gang," everybody else did it so you didn't want to be left out, it was glamorous, helped you to look older, and so on. You probably also believed that you would only do it for a while and when you were ready to stop, you would.
So what happened?
'Fear' of going without it the top reason people give in the decision to be free. I know - I used to smoke. Every night when I went to bed I told myself, "No more. Tomorrow I won't smoke. I am stopping now."
In the morning I would 'need' a cigarette. I would then comfort myself by saying, "Oh well, now I've had one so I may as well smoke today.
But, tomorrow… definitely!"
And this went on for years.
Once upon a time.
In the beginning.
There was a man/woman/dog.
Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome.
Did you hear the one...
Beginnings need to pull you in right from the start. Think of them like chat up lines but less sucky than, ‘do you come here often.’
Authors have told me of the stress caused by those first few words/lines. For some it becomes so crippling they gaze at the screen or sheet of paper and lament on the condition un-lovingly referred to as ‘writer’s block’.
Well, I have a secret for you. You do not need to get it right or correct first time. In fact, and here’s the biggie, you do not even have to write the beginning at the beginning.
There I’ve said it. My name is Barbara and I write out of order.
element1. a component or constituent of a whole or one of the parts into which a whole may be resolved by analysis.: bricks and mortar are elements of every masonry wall.
2. Chemistry. One of a class of substances that cannot be separated into simpler substances by chemical means.
3. a natural habitat, sphere of activities environment etc.: to be in one's element; Water is the element of fish.
I am writing this is a taverna in Skala Eressos, Lesvos; sitting on a comfy sofa looking out to sea with a cat purring at my side and, of course, free wifi.
My day began with a walk followed by a swim in the Aegean and as I bobbed about in the water looking back to the awakening village I felt a wave: literally and metaphorically, of feeling that I was truly in my element.
Written by Herself
I write as the muse takes me and you are welcome to use any articles with a credit.