Creating a Writing Window
I’ve written a great deal in the past about how important it is to create a safe writing world for yourself. So many of the writers I work with unknowingly allow the wrong people and places to enter their world, and are not aware of the negative affect this has on their writing.
I’ve already written about inviting critics to find something better to do with themselves while you are writing. Those of you who have tried this have seen how much space opens up for your writing when you don’t have to contend with constant criticism.
Another element in creating safety in your writing world is setting a regular, reliable and predictable time for your writing. I will never forget what happened when I did this. I always considered myself a writer, but wrote sporadically, mostly when I felt “inspired” by an experience or an observation. Then, I decided to walk around a local track every weekday for a year, and afterward, to come home and write about it. I didn’t know exactly what I was going to write about, but I was committed to writing something relating to the track each and every day of the week.
At first, eliminating everything else from my morning schedule was frightening. I often met friends for coffee at that time, and I was worried about what would happen to my relationships if I was no longer free in the morning. But after a month or so, I discovered that a writing window had opened up for me, and each and every morning, that window beckoned. I no longer mourned my former life of socializing in the a.m. Instead, I looked forward to sitting down to write each day.
When we write erratically and irregularly, our writing time is under constant siege from other pulls and commitments. The refrigerator might be in desperate need of cleaning. A list of phone calls to return becomes urgent. E mails that beg for a reply become an emergency. And before you know it, you’ve spent your entire free time scrubbing out the vegetable bins, dialing number after number, and tapping out words that have nothing to do with the story or essay or novel you had been working on.
If you can, please, please, set aside a writing time. And don’t worry if you are busy and your days already full. The time for writing can be as small as 15 minutes a day. And it should be no longer than several hours. You’ll be amazed at how much easier it will become to write once you make certain you create the time. After a few months, you might even look forward to writing, and feel particularly proud that succeeded in in making writing a regular and predictable part of your life.