This week my accountability partner and I have had a few discussions about the ways we write. I don’t mean writing how-to’s as much as environmental how-to’s. For example, I write in the mornings. I love having a mug of coffee next to me as the sun is just peeking up over the horizon. For my partner, it’s not so much about time of day, but freeing herself from distractions. She mentioned that she was having a formatting issue with a project and that once it was fixed, it fueled her fire and she was able to write well on everything for the rest of the day. She works best with regularity and predictability.
My partner, A, and I have coined these funky distractions “incomings” – meaning these things that happen in regular life that can hit like a bomb: A phone call from a mother-in-law; a kid saying that he needs two dozen cookies for class – tomorrow; a sore throat. These things happen in life but they do not have to be catastrophic for the writing schedule. In the past, if something happened that threw off my schedule for an hour, I had trouble getting back on and much of the day ended up wasted. These days, however, I’ve learned what it is that derails me so badly and how I can adjust myself to cope with the “incoming” and then get back to my intended work. It’s just something that I’m learning about myself . I’ve always known that I have trouble with flexibility – I’m not all that flexible. But I had no idea the ways it extended into my writing. I’m able to overcome my inflexibility in other areas of my life and now I’m working on doing that for my writing, too. Being self-aware has truly helped with my writing life.
Oh, of course these things don’t work every time; every person is a work in progress. I try; I fail; and I try again. It’s all a process. But it’s part of creating a writing life, and it’s a process of getting to know who I am as a writer, and sometimes why I am who I am as a writer. All of this is undertaken with the intent of improving my writing.
I have a feeling it’s a journey of a lifetime.