Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. -- Gene Fowler

Monday, June 14, 2010

Staring Into Space

It's muggy in the house today; it's hard to breathe. I can't seem to get fully awake, and every time I look out the window I'm reminded of what a grey, overcast day it is. How depressing.

There's a meditation in Walking On Alligators that speaks to me today. It's about getting down to work. "To set to work right away, without dallying, is ideal," Susan Shaughnessy says. "But it doesn't work for everyone. Some writers need a time of pencil sharpening and staring into space." That's me, usually. I was working on some computers in here yesterday and so before I sat down to do serious work I took a few minutes to pile the stuff up in the corner to reduce clutter. Clutter disperses my creative energies and makes it harder for them to coalesce. I periodically go through the study and tidy up (or at least throw piles of papers into storage boxes) to reduce the clutter factor. Yes, in a way, I still clean my room like a teenager. No wonder I'm always running out to Staples for more boxes. Eheh.

Other days I sit down but don't get started until my tea is steeped and honeyed, my cookies are sitting beside it, and I've checked my e-mail to make sure nothing important has come in overnight. That's a little silly, I suppose, and probably counterproductive: to start off by indulging in a distraction. But if someone's changed their plans or needs something from me first thing, I need to know that. Not that it usually happens that way. Also, the Writer's Almanac comes in my e-mail every day, and I frequently need it to inspire me and get me going.

How do you cope with distraction? Do you go to work straight away or linger a bit before getting down to things? May your week be productive this week! Make and do awesome things!

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