It seems that to write, people need to try all sorts of psychological tricks to prepare themselves. Blogs offer psychological tips including ‘finding your ritual’ statements to make writing flow, having clear outcomes in mind, and writing at the right time. That writing is all about finding time, place and space to do it. Rubbish!
I’m rather with the Writers & Artists Yearbook on this one. Perhaps you need to find your own zone, if, indeed, such a thing exists. What works for others might not work for you. Most of the ‘getting into the zone’ stuff relates to place, space, and base, but what about throwing in a constraint? Throwing in a constraint in order to release your creative flow, such as writing in sonnet form, or Dickens’ form, or simply adding deadline, can help more than any feng shui.
I keep coming back to the ‘just write’ mentality. This week, I’ve written lots of stuff. I have to, with daily content creation for two websites, and other copy less frequently. To be honest, if I waited until I was in the ‘zone’ to write anything, I’d still be hanging around awaiting inspiration. It is, for me, that ‘do it now’ mentality that gets results. They may not always be perfect results, and therein lies the rub. If copyediting or writing for someone professionally, I strive for perfection. If just writing a piece for the sake of interest, perfection is too big a luxury to worry about.
My advice: Stop waiting for the perfect subject to write about, for ‘inspiration’. It probably won’t come. Forget the perfect office space: write on buses, trains, at a desk, onto a computer, into a notebook (this is going straight from my brain to my computer). Ignore interruptions. The kids will share their news, the phone will ring, things will distract you – they are all temporary. Don’t aspire to perfection – you are not Hilary Mantel – and, anyway, she is apparently (by her own confession) hell to live with when writing. Accept that writing can be tedious. It isn’t all inspired creative flow. Much of it is crafting and hard slog. Forget perfection. No one usually manages to achieve it.
You are a wordsmith. Nothing more, nothing less. JUST DO IT…