#4 in a series of 6
Another mistake we make is to assume that what flows from our pen must be finished product. Logically, we know this makes no sense. There’s always a bit of re-writing before the proofreading and editing. We would never expect others to deliver perfection without practice.
Whether it’s the next chapter in your novel or a page of marketing copy for your website, it can help to sit down and intentionally scribble the ugliest, roughest draft you can imagine. Make it your plan to write something so simple, so messy, so basic, so ugly, that you can’t possibly use it. This is just a note to yourself about what you’re planning to think about considering writing.
This is much like the trick I use to get myself to do household chores. If a picture needs hanging, next time I see the hammer I lay it on the floor where the picture is to be hung. Then when I run across the box of nails, I set that in place. If the picture needs a hanger attached to it, that goes in the pile as well. Eventually I walk past, look at this instant picture hanging kit sitting on the floor, and realize that it will take almost no effort to finish the task. It gets done.
The hardest part about writing is writing. Not the polishing, the formatting, the editing. Just starting. Just putting down the few words that say what we really mean.
Pre-writing is a way to start ugly and simple and just get something down on paper.
Once the task is started, sometimes the compulsion to continue is overwhelming.
That’s okay too.
Revisiting this list of 6 tools to get you writing instead of whimpering in the fetal position on the closet floor.
The first, because it is largest, most evident, and the most mechanical (which means the easiest to think about and implement) is your environment.
The pervasive image of the starving artist huddled, shivering in their garret leads us, perhaps unconsciously, to believe that art is immune to environment, or even that art is created by pain and suffering.
Your rational brain knows that this is nonsense.
“Even the most abstract mind is affected by the surroundings of the body. No one is immune to the impressions that impinge on the senses from the outside. Creative individuals may seem to disregard their environment and work happily in even the most dismal surroundings . . . in reality, the spatiotemporal context in which creative persons live has consequences that often go unnoticed. The right milieu is important in more ways than one.”—Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, p. 126
A proper environment, as Csikszentmihalyi points out, adds enormously to our ability to create.
Here are a few things you should carefully inspect to ensure that they are the best you can arrange for your writing environment. Some will have a large effect. Some will have a small effect. But all will affect the comfort and ease of your creative abilities.
… more … “Your Writing Environment (#1 of 6 Tools to Write)”
Here are six tools my clients and friends have found effective in combating writer’s block, fear, Resistance, the lizard brain; whatever you like to call it.
… more … “6 Tools to Get You Writing (Instead of Whimpering in the Fetal Position on the Closet Floor)”