A previous post mentioned the lack of writing motivation. I read the post and found myself nodding in agreement. The last couple months have been kind of crazy for me. Moving out of the old ass apartment and into a permanent home, our new house. My husband and I were busy for weeks with packing, painting, re-flooring, etc. I found it hard (and truthfully, agonizing) to sit down and write. I did 30k in March and after that it was like another end-of-NaNo crash. I did not really want to write.
Now that about two months have gone by I've been getting these nagging thoughts of "you really should sit down and write". "I know, I know!" I'd cry back, but then do absolutely nothing about it. Writing is hard, I'd tell myself, I just don't feel it tonight. Well, I finally started easing back into it. I started browsing the NaNo forums, this always helped me during my first NaNo. There was something about seeing other people being excited about their own plot and characters that gave me a spark. Then I searched for some writing exercises. I found a brilliant Live Journal page full of writing memes! (Which I immediately posted to the group's discussion page.) I did a meme. Then another, and another. After that I sat there smiling because I didn't feel so stupid for sitting down and doing something creative with my characters. Then, while lying in bed, my mind was going on about my story and my characters. I couldn't wait to get up and do more memes! After I finish this I plan to actually do some writing tonight. It's been far too long. And my characters are pretty pissed at me right now...
I think my biggest hurdle was that I fell back into the mindset of "your writing sucks Tabby" after taking such a long break. This was my biggest foe for years until I found NaNo back in '09. I just want to say, to those who fall into the same pit now and then, just ease back into it. You won't be excited right away, after a long absence, to start writing again. The exercises I did slowly helped to push away my inner-writing-demon.
Today I've been thinking about atmosphere and how that impacts the way we think, work, and create. Where is it that you write? Do you prefer the quaint corner of a bistro while you sip on a latte and people watch between paragraphs? Maybe a home office with a desk and straight back chair? Or do you write better outside, sitting on the porch, or in bed at night in a journal? For me, it really depends. I can curl up with my laptop for a bit but I am usually more disciplined at my desk with my focus on the work and no distractions. If I have a paper and pen I love to go journaling outside, taking in the trees, air, and birds while I discover where my characters are headed next. Then again there is something fun about taking my laptop to Starbucks and getting distracted by cute guys, people chatting, and the social feeling I get being away from my house. There is something to be said for having the right atmosphere when you write. Do you need distractions to get ideas or are you like me and the first shiny thing that comes around causes you to lose your place in your story? This week I am working on rearranging my home office, so I've been thinking a lot about how our surroundings affect how we work. My behemoth corner desk came with my house and while I appreciate all the nooks and crannies of its shelves I also realized it caused me to hoard random shit that I just don't need to have around. I have a big Herman Miller desk top that goes on top of two file cabinets which I am eager to get in my office to replace the monster desk, but I wonder if it will be a positive or negative change for my writing. Sometimes a new change is a jump start to something good happening. Other times it causes us to fall back into bad habits. I want to have a healthy atmosphere that encourages creativity but I also want a desk that is functional and spacious. Along with that is the concept of surroundings. Paintings, calendars, Dwight Schrute bobblehead, plants- what do you need nearby to keep your creativity going? I just went into my living room and stared at my Thomas Kinkade picture, realizing that I love it because its like the chalk drawings on Mary Poppins that they jump into. I want paintings that give me something to yearn for. I want artwork that makes me say "I wonder what the artist was thinking when they made this." I need quotations and pictures that inspire me and catch a place in my heart. My writing is best when I am surrounded by those influences, so my hope is that redecorating will get me out of my slump and cause me to jump at the chance to start some personal projects. I'd love to write some stories about things I know, analyzing situations I've been a part of and even journalling to pour out everything in my heart. So, is there anything in your surroundings that can change to make you a more productive writer? A talisman like more plot bunnies, a certain playlist of music, or a new painting? Think about when you are most in the zone and figure out ways to enable yourself to get to that place more often. You never know- just changing the orientation of your desk or getting a new plant could cause you to finish your undone novel!! -Liz