Make This Time Sacred
I’m warning you about this because there’s a good chance that you will be tempted. Your subconscious, if it’s like most, will do just about ANYTHING to avoid writing. It’s weird… writing is what we want to do most, yet it’s the hardest thing to get to. Senseless as it is, the minute you sit down to write, you will undoubtedly be overcome by a desire to practice yoga, whip up a chocolate mousse, write to a schoolmate you haven’t seen in 30 years, take up skydiving, plant a tree, learn a musical instrument, explore vacations to Africa …
You get the picture. This will happen until you’re fully in the swing of writing every day at the same time, and will usually take between three weeks and a month. Think of the urge to procrastinate as an addiction you’re trying to break. Hey, if people can kick heroin in 28 days, you ought to be able to curb the need to bake cookies, punch a heavy bag, scrub the bathroom floor with a toothbrush, etc. for an hour or two.
If you can’t ignore the phone or your kids or your dog, go somewhere else. Diablo Cody wrote the screenplay for Juno in Starbucks. There are lots of places, including libraries, that offer free Wi-Fi if you need a computer. If not, the world is full of creative places. I used to write in laundromats in the middle of the night. They offer solitude, safety, bright light, and a chance to wash your clothes in the bargain. Try the park, a non-hip coffee shop where you won’t be disturbed by other people writing novels, an art museum (there are always benches and chairs for the foot-weary), the neighborhood community center, pool hall, hotel lobby (although I was once accosted in the lobby of the Plaza Hotel in New York by a security guard who must have thought I was a hooker… tres embarrassante). Anyway, the choices are endless.
Personally, I like to write in longhand, and feel comfortable scribbling in one of the bland-looking blank books I buy in quantity. If I’m not at the computer, I’m working in one of these. Sometimes, if I’m not expecting to have any time on my hands but do, I write in a little notebook. But I always have SOMETHING to write on.
Don’t worry if going to the laundromat – or wherever else you’d like to be – isn’t part of your normal routine. MAKE it your routine. That’s what all of this is about – changing your habits to become those of a “real” writer… meaning someone who actually writes instead of someone who just thinks about writing.