In trying to motivate myself, and get my spirit fired up for my novel again, I’ve been reading some advice on writing. Consistently I am discovering that what is recommended is a place for writing, a desk or surface where writing is the sole activity in order to ‘get you in the mood’ and signal to your brain that it’s time to write.
I don’t have this.
It’s not that I haven’t tried. I have a lovely little desk tucked away in the corner of my small bedroom which I often don’t use because, well, it just doesn’t ‘feel’ right. I can write letters and creatively design note cards whilst huddled over it, but write narrative I can not. I rarely even use my laptop there: sitting at a desk makes me feel like I am at work, professionally speaking, and not doing something enjoyable and relaxing. Thus, a desk is not somewhere I feel comfortable writing.
Now, the sofa however: that is a good spot. Or in bed, lovely! Except of course, according to all advice these are places where I partake in other activites and therefore often my brain will not associate my getting cosy in various soft cusions and pillows as a sign that writing must ensue! This is true, sometimes. Yet, miraculously this is where most of my writing (and my plotting and character development) gets done.
I suppose I’m quite lucky that I can write almost anywhere. In the station, on the train, at Starbucks, even at home when there are two kids playing on the computer and yelling at each virtual victory. Of course, more often than not, it’s nice to be in a quiet place with determined concentration where I can get lost in the words. But I don’t need that to be in a certain space, or be sat in a particular chair. I can see the logic in ‘training’ your brain to switch into writer’s mode when you sit down at your ‘writing desk’, but for me this method doesn’t really do it: because then it’s all too easy to just avoid sitting in that space when writing doesn’t appeal because I’m stuck with the story.
Instead, where ever I am I’m bombarded by constant reminders of that feeling of writing, because I spend so much time on the sofa, or in bed, or on the train. Thus, whenever I’m in these familiar places and are not engaged in other activities (watching TV, reading, sleeping), I’m thinking about writing. So even though at the moment I’m not getting very much writing done, I’m still thinking about it: and the fruits of such labour manifest themselves in new, revealing, aspects of my story that I’ve recently identified whilst lazing in bed on a Sunday morning. Writing to me isn’t a place or a time, it’s simply a state of mind – wherever you happen to be.