Out of my head

I said in the last posting that I would continue to wrestle with the ideas I was struggling with.   Here goes.

Yesterday, I planned to work on the novel in the afternoon.  Till recently, I’ve felt that the morning is the best time for me but as I had pressing ‘day job’ tasks, I decided to schedule it for later.  I did write a little, spending maybe 40 minutes.  Not a lot.  The thing is, I have 3 different activities ripe for procrastination so I can use any of these to displace the other!  I don’t even have to iron or clean the oven.  (I always know when I’ve avoided a serious challenge if there’s nothing in the ironing basket.)

What has this to do with mind and body?  Well, when I’m making an effort of the will to write, it can feel as though only my head is engaged.  While it’s handy to devote the odd neuron to the task, it’s not enough.  I need to have that buzz, that gut excitement which is the engine for creating something that lives on the page.  When a piece of writing has gone well, I actually feel better physically as though I had been walking or singing.

However, as many have said before me, you can’t sit about waiting for inspiration.  The only way to write is to write.  So, I need to set myself up so that my body, mind and spirit are engaged in the task.  That may mean going for a walk, taking some photographs, doing a bit of Tai Chi.  It’s a matter of being honest with myself about whether these constitute genuine preparation for creativity or displacement!

I was reminded this week of the question that underlies all this.  How much do you really want to do this piece of work?   I’m still thinking about that.

2 Responses to “Out of my head”


  1. 1 rosemaryhannah December 2, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    I belong to the Anthony Trollope school of writing. Nominate a time, and sit down and write. It is harder, of course, with inspirational stuff. Then, you need as a bare minimum not to be worried out of your mind by the thought of something pressing to be done. And some pieces you know will need a certain time to finish, because breaking in the middle is not going to help them.

    But otherwise, and assuming research is in place – I sit and write if I had a headache, or am tired, or grief stricken, or whatever. Pressing human needs (those of family and friends) or being so ill I can’t actually sit in a chair to write are the only two things I allow to exempt me from a planned and needed writing session.

    But I do take time off to do things which feed me and keep me fit.

  2. 2 alisonwriting December 2, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    I’m very impressed and will take this to heart!


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