"It is a fact often observed, that men have written good verses under the inspiration of passion, who cannot write well under other circumstances."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Don't you love that sweet spot of time when it's just you and the page? When just the right words are flowing, your pacing couldn't be more perfect, your characters never more alluring. You look up and notice an hour or three have passed and there in front of you is your passion manifested in black and white, something tangible. You wonder where the time went, you feel alive, maybe even a bit touched by the Muse, and dare I say, a little bit proud of yourself (good!).
But, the getting there - that's another business altogether.
We have obligations and "other circumstances," as Emerson put it. And these things take up valuable real estate on the creative mind. These things look like your job, your children and all their activities, your bills, your health, your education, a social life, sometimes your parents or others you look after, your pets. And as I've said before, these are all important obligations to mind (the non-negotiables)...but it's difficult to make the switch from the productive, responsible human being to the creative genius you're capable of being. Who's ready to search for that elusive writing sweet spot after a full day of exhausting work and other challenges? Writing yourself into that magic groove is...work! You do usually get there and remember all over again why you've been listening to your gut, heart and brain all this time about this writing thing but it wasn't without a fight.
What's your passion for writing worth?
Aside from all those obligations you really do have to tend to...the stuff that keeps you and your family alive, fed, clothed, warm, healthy and thriving...what do you need? Do you need to say "Yes, I can" every time someone outside your family circle asks for your time or could you choose the activities you're willing to put your energy into a little more selectively? Do you need to watch TV every night or could you swap out five hours of TV time for reading or writing time? Do you need to spend hours a week on all your various social media channels letting people know what you're eating, where and with whom or could you manage to use that time connecting with those around you; finding inspiration from a conversation a table down from you at a coffee shop, overheard in a thrift store or with a child?
You always have a choice of where and how you spend your time and your choices place a value on your passion for writing.
It's nearly impossible to write all the time unless you're independently wealthy (or are making a good living on your books) and have very little to no family around - and even for those who have few obligations, most can't sit to write for longer than 5 hours at a stretch. But for those of us with very busy lives, it is possible to inspire our writer's mind by paying attention to all the creative energy going on around us. Writing doesn't just take place on the page, it happens when we look at old pictures, listen to music, watch a lightning storm, take a road trip. It happens when our brains are at work, which is all the time!
Take charge of your "other circumstances" so that when it's time to connect your perspective to the page, your passion for your craft is that much easier to access.
Here's to your "good verses!"
Action: When your preparing yourself for writing, what gets you in the mood? Do you listen to music? Do you have a routine of things you must do before you sit to write? Run a few miles? Feel free to share your inspiration. Lately, I have been almost obsessively listening to Ralph Vaughan Williams. Works every time for me. Your turn!