The view from my office window has changed in the last year. The tops of trees and the tops of mountains now dominate the view. My hummingbird feeder is quite busy on these spring days, providing a distraction and a meditation, depending on my mood.
Last week, I asked what three things you would bring to your scheduled rendezvous with your writing. Here is my answer.
My Three Things
- Coffee. My favorite mug filled with steaming coffee. I grind beans while sleep walking through the first part of my morning (feeding and getting fresh water for the dog and cat, feeding the fish, letting the dog out.) The brew is very strong; the fragrance soothes me into the day. After an energy bite (peanut butter, oats, and chia seeds), I head to my desk, awake enough to communicate, to write.
- An open heart. This is especially important when I begin with journaling. I need to hear and write, to find out what my fingers know (Skywriting, Jane Pauley). In this just-wakened state, my mind hasn’t been able to confuse me with thoughts of what the day holds, the making of to-do lists. My heart is open and listening; I keep my mind calm and my heart open as long as I can. For me, that is where the gold is.
- Patience. This is the most conscious effort, no matter what time of the day I am writing. To let the words and thoughts flow from me onto the page, I have to turn off my internal editor. I have to be willing to just keep going, to just let it all out. I must often remind myself that editing is a job best done later, that if I stop to edit now, the flow of ideas will slow or stop altogether. This is a hard one for me. At times, it seems more like determination than patience.
All of these are mental preparations. A sports coach might say I am getting my mind in the game. That is important no matter what time of the day you have set for your writing appointment. You may be thinking that I am a morning person. Sometimes, especially in summer, that is true. In winter, this is not true of me at all.
So much can get in the way of my writing: unavoidable early morning appointments, guests in the house, a sick pet, a sick or brain-fogged me. No matter what, I keep to my writing schedule and routine more often than not. I love my writing; I know it is what I am meant to do. I respect my writing by showing up and, as Anne Lamott says, “keep [my] butt in the chair.”
So, what happens when we make our rendezvous appointment with writing, and we are met with utter silence? No words come or we can’t focus on writing. What happens then?
What are your top 5 things to do when you show up, but your writing self is silent? Make a quick list of these.
Now, go back into that list and elaborate. Focus on the your top two, the things you do that are most successful in getting you over the hump. Write about them. Why do they work? Can you identify what started the block you experienced (an argument, an upcoming trip, worry about finances, etc.)? How can you move that block out of the way and keep your writing appointment?
I’ll share my answer to the prompt and pose another question. We are working on putting tools in our tool belt to keep up writing, no matter what circumstance is happening around us.
Until then, I would love to hear from you!
Happy writing… ~T
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