When I first heard that maybe you might want to cultivate some sort of practice for getting ready to write, I balked at that idea. Perhaps because I come from journalism training, one of the best parts of that experience for me was writing to deadline and the best part about that is that it was almost always just a day or two away from deadline so there was no time to get precious about this writing thang. Sit your ass down. Get that story done!
Creative writing however is a different process. I think it may have been Besty Warland, way back in January 2012 who taught a one-day class when our cohort was first beginning in The Writer’s Studio who described the benefits of preparing to write. To be honest, I can’t actually recall the details of what she said, and it’s not important. It’s more that I remembered something about it and when she said it the concept made a lot of sense.
She wasn’t advocating that you put on your lucky red underwear, get your rabbit’s foot in your pocket, walk around the apartment Zen monk style three times clockwise and one time counter clockwise. That’s not what she was talking about. It was mainly about creating the space, physically and psychologically, where you would be receptive to the idea that now it was time to write and you could mindfully focus on that time, and that things weren’t distracting your focus during that time.
It was a time that you took for yourself for this specific purpose on a consistent basis so that you were setting a marker not just for yourself but for others as well. You must act like a writer because if you were writing, consistently, you were one. Publishing is a different animal. I expect this making space and taking time is even more important if your life abounds with children and a partner.
I don’t have too many rituals. I don’t need them. I like flowers, a small vase of flowers to gaze at absentmindedly really appeals to me. Some order in my immediate vicinity is preferable. I have more trouble getting down to focusing on anything if my apartment reaches a level of messiness that is disturbing to me. Let me just say that the bar for that is mighty low. If I can’t make coffee in my Bodem because yesterday’s grains and coffee are still in there and yesterday’s dishes are all over my two foot space of counter (which they often are) then those realities start nudging their way to the front of my mind and bug me. Although, I’m proud to say, I’ve gotten better at letting that go. Yay.
I’m telling you this because it’s already Thursday when it was just Monday, like 24 hours ago, wasn’t it? That means there are only two more days until the next Write for 5.
Yesterday I popped the book I chose for Elaine Guillemin, from last week’s Write for 5 into the mail. I’d rather not say which one because if she looks at this blog, I want it to be a surprise, but maybe she’ll let us know when she gets it.
I’m going to keep going with Write for 5 for a while, so if you are at all inclined to participate, it’s a very short chunk out of your weekend some time between Saturday at 8 am for morning types and 9pm on Sunday.
I feel, based on doing it for just two weeks, that even that tiny bit of writing generated from the exercise sparks interest in getting back to my more substantial writing, in a way I didn’t believe it would but has.
Get your writing space tuned up for the weekend and join in.