Boy, it takes a lot to get me to the page. I am often struck by this fact. I hem and I haw; I do the dishes and I clean my room and I take naps. I do my laundry. I rearrange the furniture. Some days, I would probably redecorate an entire house if given the chance rather than pick up my pen. My aversion to starting my writing is just that strong.
However, sometimes I find that if I rush into writing, I am so tense that what I write is stilted and forced. So I guess what I’m saying is that there is something to be said for taking a bit of time to prepare myself mentally for the task for writing, for allowing myself a certain amount of happy puttering around the house before I sit down to write. It feels more gentle than the other approach, in which I force myself into the chair at the same time every day or else reprimand myself for wasting time on other tasks. It’s not as kind, this approach. It leads to desperate, unhappy and resentful writing.
And yes, there comes a point when I just need to sit down in my chair to write. But I find that when I approach it gently, the results are much better and I am much happier. Plus, the plants get watered and the laundry gets done. And my room is very, very clean!
This tension, between discipline and gentleness, is one with which I often struggle. (You can read another post I wrote about discipline here.) But today, I continue the process of weaving the two together, because I don’t think they have to be mutually exclusive. Creative work doesn’t have to feel like boot camp or else like a slumber party. (Maybe it can feel like a slumber party at boot camp?)
So wish me luck. I’m off to make my way towards my novel. Don’t worry. I’ll get there.