Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On: Finding your happy place

One of the pieces of advice I am trying to abide by lately is "write often".

So much writing advice seems to revolve around writing often equals persistence equals creating a habit equals honing your craft. However, I have discovered I am the type of person who needs a specific set of parameters to be able to write efficiently. I need a certain physical space and volume level. I need to be undisturbed.

This is why I found my Month of Mondays a complete revelation. I had the house, and my home office, to myself. I unplugged the modem, put on some chill music and Had At. It was a full eight hours of undisturbed bliss.

I need more of this.

I have dabbled with writing in other spaces. I am far too distracted with people, loud music, internet, TV or radio around me. When I've tried it in between jobs at work, I have a sense of guilt. When I try to do writing as an after work pursuit, I'm too mentally drained to "start work again for the day". I DO see writing as work (learning, honing, feeling my way around the industry) - when I'm done with a full 8 hour (or more) day, I need to relax, do my other hobbies. Weekends are just that - I have a very specific framework for separating work and play. I need balance.

Yes, being able to write full time would be the ultimate.

Everyone's mileage will vary. There are the people who can tune out on the bus and write a few paragraphs. There are the people who can huddle in a cafe and write their masterpiece. There are those who sat with a typewriter in a tiny laundry and banged out 120K words. There are the people who can multi-task a household, job, kids and write amongst the mental noise. There are those who can write 3000 words before 6am, and those who can devote hours after a full day's work.

I am amazed by and applaud these people, but I am none of them. I can multi-task, but writing needs all the mental mess put away and requires my full, undivided attention.

I know my concentration in alternative environments may get better as I get more practise. Yes, I know my framework may be restrictive, but to get myself motivated I had to create framework and rules, or I would procrastinate forever.

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