Have you ever wanted to write, but struggled to find the perfect time and place? Does the following sound familiar? I can’t start work until I have the right __________ (fill in the blank: study space, computer, head space, time, other).
Yes, it’s hard to fit creativity into our busy schedules. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to write from the comfort of a breezy balcony overlooking the view above? Let’s add the luxury of a cook, a cleaner and the only distraction the beckoning waves. But most of the time, work, family, meals and other commitments intrude.
However, all is not lost. We might imagine that writing only takes place sitting at a desk, yet much of the creative process comes before the words hit the page. It takes time to generate and germinate ideas. My best writing is done on walks, in the bath or even while folding laundry. I have notebooks full of random thoughts that came when I wasn’t in front of my computer. Often, ideas strike while I’m lying in bed in the early hours of the morning. It’s no surprise that most of the writers I know are insomniacs.
When it’s time to hit the keyboard, everyone seems to have a different idea about what constitutes a productive environment. Some writers prefer to work in their study, a haven with whiteboards, piles of books, sticky notes and more. Others are happy anywhere as long as it’s quiet. Some like clutter, others can’t focus surrounded by a mess. I use several spots around the house—the kitchen table, my portable stand up desk, my bedroom window seat and the living room couch. I’ve written in coffee shops, airport lounges, in the car and more. One of the only places I can’t write is on a plane. Find what works for you.
No question, the right writing tool is important. I use a laptop, others use desktops. But don’t be put you off if you don’t have the perfect computer. If you’re reading this post, you have some sort of electronic device, be it a phone, tablet or computer. Use it. If all else fails, find a pen and paper.
Finding time seems to be the greatest impediment to writing. I’m one of the lucky few who writes full time. Even so, interruptions are plentiful. And there are some periods in our lives that are just too busy or emotionally draining to allow for creativity. For JJ Campbell, author of Reclaimed, it was when she was a single mother working a demanding job. We have to be realistic and, dare I say it, be kind to ourselves. But don’t forget, incredible creativity has came out of adversity. George Orwell was dying of tuberculosis when he wrote 1984. Lisa Eskinazi wrote Out of the Well while suffering depression. JK Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book when she was on government benefits.
The most important thing is to show up. Create a routine and stick to it. Even if it’s one hour a day. One hour a week. The details aren’t important, just sit down—or stand up if you prefer—and write. If you wait for the right conditions, you’ll never finish. You might not even start. The perfect time to write is now.
Next time: DIY Project Two: Ski Coat Rack