Sometimes, trying to push out the words of a new story or poem is just like trying to push out a newborn. The words get stubborn and comfortable inside the mind where they've been gestating for days, weeks, months, sometimes years. They cling onto the notion that they are safer if they stay wrapped up inside the uterus of the writer's mind. So, sometimes we writers need a literary midwife or two or three to coach us and coax that baby out. Somebody who'll stay with us and that story 'til the birthing process is done. Somebody who'll say, "Daughter, let those words go. Ain't you tired of carrying that full-term baby around in your belly? You are? Then bear down, baby. Bear down and push that baby out."
I am in the wonderful, scary space of completing my second novel. The bearing down and pushing out of the words has, at times, been difficult, but thankfully, I have a village of literary midwives who are constantly encouraging me and pushing me to birth this baby out. So, today, I honor them. They know who they are. Love.
As much as I adore writing, there are days when I feel too blah to do it. I’ll have great characters, an amazing plot, and a clear direction on how I will marry the two together, but the blahs take over. So, I came to realize that preparing to write has to become as important as the actual writing sometimes. So, here are some tips that can help writers avoid the writing blahs.
1. Take a walk or do some yoga before you start writing. Get yourself in the right head space.
2. After your walk or yoga, take a shower/bath and spritz yourself with your favorite cologne/perfume. Put on something nice AND comfortable. Treat writing like it is a date you are about to go on.
3. Set aside two times a day to write. That way, if you miss the first time, you won’t beat yourself up because you know that there is still another time slot available. A groovy plus that can happen is – you write during BOTH time slots. If you can do that a few times per week, well, you will really feel good about yourself.
4. Reward yourself if you accomplish your weekly goal. Now, I’m not saying go out and buy yourself some Prada every time you write 750 words, but I am suggesting that you go buy yourself a nice Gourmet Cupcake if you keep your writing goal for a whole week. Or go Goodwill Hunting or Consignment shopping in the fancy side of town and see if you can find that jacket that would normally sell for $75 for a huge sigh inducing $9.
5. Create a writing retreat in your writing space. Buy nice candles and a miniature waterfall that sits on your desk. Splurge (even if you must save for months) and buy a nice, comfy chair. Go to a supply store and buy all of the cool pencils, pens, folders, highlighters, Post-its, etc. that make your desk look ready for creating. Make sure your lighting is perfect, and for goodness sake, make sure that you are not sharing that space with someone else. If it is shared space, try to make appointments for the space so that you aren’t in the space at the same time as someone else.
6. Finally, at the end of the day, return the space to its previous order. Don’t leave it messy. That way, when you go there the next day, it will still be inviting and enticing.