It’s time to write.
Oh, but first I need to arrange the pens, shuffle pieces of paper, make a drink, sort washing, play Mahjong Solitaire, file my nails, check Twitter, Facebook and maybe even call a few friends. In fact, I should probably do at least a million other things instead of write because they all definitely need doing! I can’t write a word until it has all been done, twice. Or more.
Procrastination is the most persistent friend of many authors and the blocker of the muse. However, when your muse is in your writing can flow in such a way it can feel as though it is channelled. Your pen flies across the paper or your fingers are a blur on the keyboard. You step into the gap between your thoughts and slip gently into the flow. In this place time doesn’t exist. You forget about the world outside your writing bubble and all there is are the words.
Many writers will say that they can read something but have forgotten or don’t even have any conscious memory of writing it in the first place.
You can ask people what inspires them and they might be able tell you, although it may be different each time. Some will confess to not knowing with a, ‘it just happens’ reply.
In reality it probably doesn’t matter but if you would like to write, and be published, knowing you can actually do so is a big plus! I was about to put that I have trained myself to switch on my writing when I need to but it is probably my muse who is trained. Perhaps my muse has trained me? Some days she is just there without so much as a whisper of my begging but other times I have to get my mind into the right/write frame. Your muse wants to be present: to inspire, guide, prod, encourage, support and aid you in your brilliance. All you need to do is allow that to happen.
Here are some ideas to get you going.
Set up a reward system. If you hit your word count, take five or treat yourself. This works much better than punishing yourself with negativity and allowing self-doubts to grow.
Clear your head of distractions. Rather than give time to all the things that must (!) be done, jot them down and your mind will be less cluttered.
Take a few moments to centre and compose yourself.
If you are doing other things instead of writing ask the procrastination part of you to come forwards for a chat. Why is it there? Sometimes it is fear, ‘what if I can’t really do it?’ You’d be surprised how successful and well-known authors suffer with insecurities, expecting to be exposed as a fraud any minute.
Another worry can be related to the notion that writing somehow isn’t work. I have many freelance writer friends whose families have read their words and then said, ‘that’s good, but when are you getting a proper job?’ Start with the premise of its importance it will soon be so. With most things you desire, it happens much quicker if you act ‘as if’.
Whatever reason you come up with, address it and deal with it.
Imagine what ...... insert your favourite writer’s name, might do. My best days are when I ‘channel’ Dorothy Parker and Queen Elizabeth 1. To do that, I imagine them and create a combination of how I think they’d be, infuse myself with that and immerse myself in the thought and feeling. On those days my writing kicks ass.
Identify your own muse and work out what is needed for her/him* to appear. In my retreats I suggest having a checklist of what works and yes, you may include chocolate, olives and a glass of pleasure.
Create a space or place purely for writing. When you are familiar with your own processes you will be able to work anywhere. Personalise this place. If your environment is suitable, light a candle. This is a trigger to light your way to inspiration and clarity.
Take a few slow breaths.
When you’ve finished, ground yourself and stretch.
Or, ignore all the above and do what works for you.
As I was completing The Psychic Way I was so close to the end I couldn’t bear to stop. I was writing in the kitchen on my laptop with a cat advising me which keys to press. I had a small child on my lap and my daughter was cutting her other son’s hair next to me. Chaos doesn’t come near to describing the environment.
I therefore repeat, do what works for you. There are no rules and anyone who suggests there are should be ignored.
*I know the muses are girls (I can list them if you like) but on some days I invite Stephen King into my brain.
Final thought - get writing. I look forward to reading your words and seeing your book in print.
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