I made a mistake this morning. Before I wrote this blog post, I started work on something else – something important (organizing the American Cancer Society Relay For Life, in fact), but now, now I”m having a really hard time pulling my mind back to writing. It’s swimming with emails to be sent and phone calls to be made. I could – truly – spend all day just recruiting and emailing people about that event. It’s tempting to do so because, well, it makes me feel good to fight cancer. It also makes me feel good to do something that has some sort of measurable result – a number of people registered, a number of dollars raised. In contrast to writing, where nothing is really quantifiable, Relay feels good.
But as important as Relay is, it’s not what I need to be doing first thing in the morning. I need to save my morning mind for writing. I do my best work that way.
Writing requires a quietness and stillness of thought. I have to be focused in one way, down one path. Or else, I’m scattered, and it feels like I’m just putting my hand down into murky water to find words. Nothing feels connected or smooth – just groping. My eyes squint. So today, I have made my job much harder . . . rather than focus first and let the list of possible things to do wait, I let that list dictate my morning. Now, I pay. And so does my writing. I will have to work all the harder to get back now. But I will get back. I’ll write by hand a bit and shut down the internet for a while. I”ll sit and stare for a few minutes. . . I’ll find that quiet place again . . . the one that I could have just walked right into first thing.
Some day, I’ll learn.
What about you? What do you have to do to be in the right head space to write? When does that space come most easily?