Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Making Space for Writing (I)

Last week I posed a question about making space for writing. I wasn't asking about creating an office or clearing off a desk, but rather about clearing your mind during a day of work, and kids, and other responsibilities. Making that all-important mental space.

I received so many helpful and generous replies to this query, that I thought I'd break up the suggestions into a few posts.

Today's topic concerns writerly tricks. You know, the things and actions that switch your mindset from the treadmill to a writing space. Maybe a fluffy pen will do it for you? Or is it Yoga? I think it's up to the writer, but here are the suggestions I received:

  • Sara Lewis Holmes suggests "Make the act of writing a rebellion against all the other Must-Dos in your life." Run away and play hooky.

  • Sara also recommends a separate notebook for each writing project and "mentally conjure up your favorite reading spot as a kid (or as an adult)."

  • Adrienne likes "pink pens and the notebooks" too!

  • And, Tricia works with notebooks so she can steal away time when on campus

  • Tricia also starts with a poetic form or writing prompt to shock herself into the zone

  • Barbara Kerley wrote in and said, "A tiny routine is good to start your writing time. For me, I make a cup of tea, head upstairs, and sit down at my desk."

  • Christine M. tries to "get enough stuff off of my to do list"

  • P.J. Hoover says she uses a "digital voice recorder to capture quick ideas I have throughout the day"

  • Becky Levine suggests sitting down for an hour at the same time every day. (Gail Gauthier agrees!)

  • Colleen Cook plans on treating writing like doctor's appointments and scheduling dates she can't miss.

  • Liz Garton Scanlon uses the exerise tip: set a "very, very, very modest goal -- 10 or 15 minutes a day -- because once you've started, you'll almost always exceed it."

  • Tanita finds weekend writing works great with the academic calendar

  • Kelly Fineman has to leave the house or have a clutter-free space

  • Cloudscome says "What I do is get up early, sit with my coffee and prayers/meditation, and let my mind wander."

  • Michele and Kim find getting up early to write is the trick

Tomorrow we'll discuss "things to avoid" and on Friday "lifestyle changes" that make a difference.