How do you create ideal writing conditions?
If you are committed to becoming a writer, you are going to have to question yourself on a regular basis. You may have to get to know yourself all over again, even reinvent yourself.
“A little talent is a good thing to have if you want to be a writer. But the only real requirement is the ability to remember every scar.”
― Stephen King
This is not easy. It can be very confronting.
You have to delve deep into your psyche, digging for gold. And, as if this is not challenging enough, you will have to identify the ideal conditions for you to create your best work in. Asking yourself this — over and over, because conditions continually change — is part of the work as well.
Writing is not for the faint hearted. Then again, neither is living — being alive in this world, where rules keep changing on you and all you’re left with is just to roll with the punches.
People are prone to let themselves be led by circumstances. Just think back to some conversation you’ve had. Note the particular words your conversation partner used. Isn’t it true that many people seem all too eager to lay blame at the feet of something out of their control? As if it is not their fault at all they got up late / forgot that particular thing / did not call you / were late for a meeting. Many people seem only too comfortable in a victim’s role.
I confess to having been one of those people for a long time.
It is all too easy, isn’t it, to just blame circumstances beyond your control for your shortcomings? This way, you do not have to assume responsibility when in fact, the only one responsible for your life and your choices is you.
How does this relate to writing?
We all know by now (and if not, read your daily August Birch and your Shaunta Grimes): in order to become an established writer (notice I deliberately avoid the word ‘successful’ since it is so very subjective), you have to write Every. Single. Day. You have to create a writing habit. There’s simply no ifs and buts about it.
Do these excuses ring true with you:
- I can’t write today, I am just so tired
- I can’t write today, there’s just too much (real) work on
- I can’t write today; people keep distracting me
- I can’t write now; the dog needs to be walked
- I can’t write now; I am out of coffee
- I can’t write today; it’s bad weather
Circumstances beyond your control, keeping you from actually doing the work.
Circumstances may very well be out of your control, but the one thing you do control is your own life — at least, your own mind.
So riddle me this: if you truly, deeply, madly desire to become that which you have dreamed of, to become a writer, are you going to let trivial circumstances get in your way? It is a question of mindset. You cannot afford to wait for perfect conditions — you will have to create them yourself. There is always a way, wherever, whenever. Find out what fuels your writing habit.
There is always a piece of paper, a notebook, your own smartphone, your work PC. You know perfectly well what works for you.
“Read and write four to six hours a day. If you cannot find the time for that, you can’t expect to become a good writer”
― Stephen King
I’ll be the first to admit I struggle with this as well. There are only so few hours in a day and there always seems just too much to do. But my will is strong, so I will find the way. And the words.
It’s Sunday. Outside, it’s raining continuously. Inside, we’ve turned on the heating for the first time this season. Husband’s sitting at the table, writing on his tablet. I’m on the couch, wrapped up in a plaid together with our dog. I’m reading and writing on my new BlackBerry smartphone.
The weather is fine.
This post was originally published on Medium in my publication Hearts in the Write Place on October 16, 2019.