Whether I write on any given day is determined by one main factor--Mindset. Perseverance and determination are a large part of that mindset. The will to do something, after all, is what drives most of us. If I decide, really make your mind up to something, I almost always succeed. Combine the will to write with waking up with a brilliant idea for your work-in-progress (WIP) and the words can hardly wait for your fingers to hit the keyboard. But how often does the brilliant idea strike? Rarely.
What else do I do to increase the chance of getting words down on the page? Setting a schedule or making goals, whichever way you want to phrase it. Like this blog. I had decided I MUST get it written earlier than the day before so I wrote it down on a schedule. I don’t feel like writing this right now but I am. Mindset.
Another thing that affects my writing in the positive column is Encouragement. This can be a good review, a compliment on my writing, someone asking a question about writing and valuing my answer, or words of understanding when it comes to writing and its inherent difficulties. Oddly enough a bad review or criticism can also nudge me to write in the “I’ll prove them wrong” mode.
Let’s say I’ve got the right mindset—determination, a schedule/goal, and encouragement. Then I awake to an allergy attack, or a bad cold, or the flu, or a sick child, significant other, or parent for whom I am responsible--these can ring a death knell on writing for the day. The best way to handle these type of situations is to just deal with them. Take my meds, drink my fluids, and provide such for the others depending on me and surrender the day to write again another. Stuff happens as they say. But if the situation is long term as in caring for another, I have had to learn to adapt. Stealing moments to write is part of “taking care of myself” in this situation. And taking care of self is of utmost importance to writing. There are times when the strongest mindset on earth won’t enable me to get some writing done. I’ve learned that beating myself up when this happens is only detrimental to moving forward and writing another day.
Also vital to my writing is saying “no” to other’s. When are you going to write if you have to bake cookies for school, take mom to the doctor, help sis with her uphostlry project and have dinner for twelve all on the same day! I used to be one of the worst at “no” saying. It did get easier with practice and with admitting I’m not superwoman. (Why did it take me sooo long to stop believing I could be her?) Believe me, even if you fit into the costume you aren’t. There’s only so many hours and so much energy. Reserve some for writing, is an important lesson I had to learn.
Plodding, slogging, trudging are some of the adjectives that come to mind when I contemplate how I decide whether to write or not. One of htese is what I usually do. Luckily, every so often comes that time when words fly onto the page—pure magic. The wonder of that convinces me to keep slogging.
It is the month of St. Pat forgive my paraphrasing— “May the plot rise up to meet you. May your computer never crash. May your characters warm your heart; may their story land on best seller lists, and until we meet again, may God give you many magic word-flying days!”