Finding Metaphorical Space to Write

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Feature image from ELITE DAILY

There is a big difference between having a desk to write in, and having enough mental space to allow yourself to write.  I used to think that all I needed was an office of my own, and then the books will just flow out of me onto the office floor.

When my partner and I moved into a four bedroom house on the South Coast, I got my very first office.  I brought a secondhand desk, found a chair on the street and wrote notes to myself to stick all over the wall.  I stuck a post it to the door that read ‘Book Factory – Keep out!’ and lined the walls with bookshelves and folders.  I was certain I had everything I needed.

When I did finally get my own space to write, I was astounded at how little work I did when I sat there.  I would sit at my desk for hours wasting time and getting frustrated.

What was missing was space in my head to let ideas flow.  I was so full of worry, frustration, writing anxiety, fear of failure, fear of success, and pressure that it was impossible to get any creative words from my head.

Here is how I now manage to find a little metaphorical space in my head to let the creativity flow.

Meditation – I didn’t really like meditating when I first started.  I thought it was a boring waste of time.  I used to think that the best way to stop worrying was to just keep working until my worried went away.   – But lots of people do. If I need to clear my head I like to get a few things out of the way at once – so walking or

Now I understand meditation better I realise that the worries may never go away, but that I can work with them.  I can acknowledge the worry (fear/writing anxiety) and then move past it.

Daily Walk – This one is my favourite way to clear space in my head.  Obvious reasons.

Finding a Trigger – If you only have one hour to write, you want to be able to get started and find the zone as soon as possible.  A writing trigger can help you get focused quickly.  What is a writing trigger?  A writing trigger is something you do every time you sit down to write, that sets you mind into the right frame.

A writing trigger could be a song, a certain smell burning on your desk, a poem you read to yourself or a little mantra that you have stuck to your monitor.  It could be a chocolate you eat at the start of your writing hour or a special blend of tea that you brew to prepare for sitting at your desk.  It is up to you.

Like Pavlov’s dogs, it won’t take long for you mind to become conditioned to connecting writing with your writing trigger.

Getting Away for a few days – Getting away for a few nights is a great way to remind yourself that writers take holidays too.  If you can’t afford to get away from the house you can also organise a stay-cation, where you lock all your electronic equipment in the boot of you car and then pretend you are at a holiday house.

Stop Worrying about Failure – A great way to stop worrying about failing is by admitting that you are probably going to fail, and then still going ahead with the writing.  If you don’t fail you aren’t aiming high enough.  I think of it like this…If you don’t fall over skiing, then you’re not trying anything new.  If you don’t hurt after a run, you probably didn’t run hard enough.  If you don’t get rejected from any publishers or agents, then you aren’t applying for any.

Stop Worrying about Success – Fear of success sounds can sound silly, but what it really is is a fear of change.  When people succeed, their lives change – and that can be unnerving for some.

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by Meg

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