Part 1: Finding Your Happy Place
Even the most seasoned and successful writers occasionally lose their drive. They get in a funk and can’t seem to get started or make headway. Story lines whither and dry up. Characters turn to cardboard. The “big moment” pales then shrivels into just a little bump in the road on the characters’ journey. Or sometimes all that is still there, stuck in the crevices someplace, but a writer just can’t seem to sit down and get it written.
Thankfully there are some catalysts at hand you can use to get yourself going again, just in case this ever happens to you. The first one is simple, and in some ways you might think, what does this have to do with writing? But I’m telling you, it matters. The first thing is, you have to find your happy writing place.
If you’re a homeschooler, as I know many of you are, you already know what I’m talking about. There are some people who can write (or do school work) anywhere. They can sit in the middle of the family room and just tap along on a laptop, closing their ears to the activity around them. But others of us — most of us — can’t do that. We like our space. We like a place where we can get alone and think. And if anyone needs to be able to get alone and think, it’s a writer.
Some like the idea of writing in a library or coffee shop. The ambience makes them feel artistic. (Maybe that’s just the smell of the coffee beans.) But most of us need a special place for our creative juices to be released onto the page.
Think about your happy place, the place where you do your writing. Is it your room? Does it have to be tidy, organized? Do you have to have special music playing to inspire you? Do you need the scent of an aromatic candle burning? Do you prefer soft lighting or brilliant white?
When I was a teenager writing stories, I used an antique treadle sewing machine in my bedroom as a desk. That’s the kind you have to pump with your feet to make the needle move. My notebook would lie open before me, and I worked at my best if I had a tea tray with a full pot brewed and sitting off to the side. Oh, and lots and lots of sugar cubes. And I’m not even English…
Anyway, with that set-up, and some classical music playing softly for emotional inspiration, I found my happy place. The words could flow faster than I could write them down. This was a good arrangement since I was fond of writing Romeo and Juliet style tragedies at the time. Plus, my room was in a basement. It couldn’t have been better — for me.
Now I write in my room again. Some writers are blessed with an office. I had to give mine up so that my son could have a bedroom. Go figure. But I’m best when I’m reclined against a stack of pillows on my bed anyway. Sometimes I still like the classical music as a backdrop. I like to have a cup of something hot to sip on. Usually I listen to movies soundtracks.
The point is, you don’t need anything fancy to be in a happy writing place or to be a real writer. You just need to surround yourself with what works for you; and, take the time to make it your haven. Get your tea tray ready. Lay out your notebooks and pens. Sit before a desk at the window if that inspires you.
I have a book shelf next to my bed. On it are what I’m currently reading as well as a bunch of research books, pens, highlighters, my Bible and journal. It’s basically a desk on a book shelf. I enjoy the natural lighting from the big window next to my bed. I can close the door if I need absolutely no distractions. It’s not fancy. It’s not a big desk in a special office lined with library shelves. But it works for me. I’m comfortable there and happy.
Once you find or create your happy writing place, make yourself start writing… something…anything! No more excuses. Open that bottle up inside you and let it flow!
If it’s more than a happy place you need to get motivated, then next month we’ll talk about kick-starting your motivation. We’ll try to find ways to unlock the ideas lurking around in your brain and unplug whatever clog is holding you back from getting them on paper.
- Seek out a happy writing place.
- Put the items you need to work close by in it.
- If you need to buy a new notebook or pens for inspiration, then do it.
- Surround yourself with things that are calming and comforting, and which will provoke you to get to the task.