Clearing the Air

November 9 = Day 1 post-U.S. elections

Whew.  *breathing*

After months and months of negative vibes zinging through the air, it feels like I can finally breathe again.  Negativity slams me down.  Hard.

I read somewhere (too long ago to remember the source) that interrupting a writer at work is like knocking a painter off a ladder.  Oh, the mess!  Imagine how hard it is to pick yourself up, clean up the spilled paint, refill the bucket, gather up your paintbrushes, and then climb back up the ladder to pick up where you left off.

Negativity works like that, slamming a writer off the ladder.  But it’s not only negativity.  It’s whatever worries your mind.

Did I send the kids off to school without a jacket?  Why did the cat wake me up last night?  Is my CO monitor really working?  Why hasn’t my BFF returned my call yet? What would I do if my spouse wanted to run for public office?    

It’s hard for a writer to write until her personally troubled air is cleared.  There is always going to be something out there to fling us off our ladders or fill our minds with nagging worries.  We have to take control of our own air spaces.  Now that it’s FINALLY post-election, it’s time to clear our writers air.  Here are a few ideas about making that work:

Dedicated writing space.  It doesn’t have to be your own office.  It’s your own special place with a laptop or a pad of paper.  Writing in that same place trains the writer brain and tells the subconscious:  “now it is time to write.”  Best to keep it separate from distractions like the internet!

Ritual.  Performing some sort of ritual fools the writer brain, informing those gray cells that it’s the beginning of writing time.  Some writers light a candle.  I like to jot down in my productivity notebook how many words I wrote the day before.

Signal.  This is some way to inform the rest of the family that now is the time not to bother you.  Kids are quite trainable (spouses, another matter).  My signal is a sign that hangs on the doorknob and reads “Quiet please!  Murder in progress!”

And as always, it’s a work in progress.

How do you clear your personal air space?

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12 thoughts on “Clearing the Air”

  1. These are great tips, Sue! Sometimes, if I get really desperate, I’ll jumpstart my productivity by taking myself away from all distractions for a couple of hours and head to a coffee shop. Although, it’s yet to be seen whether I’ll be able to focus on any writing today… *deep breath*

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  2. Mary, you are so lucky to have understanding co-workers!

    Kate, that’s a great idea–some sort of change in the routine is another good way to boost productivity.

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  3. I work from home (day job) and write from the same office. Solution – I have two of everything, two desks, two computers, two printers. My office is divided into a writing side and a paralegal side. Crazy as it sounds, it works.

    Where can I get your sign? That has GOT to be the best.

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  4. Kait, I got my sign from one of the dealers at a Bouchercon–they have such fun stuff.

    Becky, does the timer help to give you structure to your empty-nester schedule? That might work for me…

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    1. Every Sunday I create my calendar for the upcoming week. During my “writing time,” I set a timer for an hour and write without stopping. Then I break for 5 or 10 minutes to write down my word count and stretch. Then I do it again for another hour, and maybe one more, depending. I write four days/week, averaging about 2 hours/day. I’ve always written that way, mostly, but with this manuscript I’m trying to quantify it. I can get a polished ms in 8 weeks this way.

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  5. I’m one of the candle-lighters. In fact, the candle generally stays unlit on my desk until it’s time to signal my brain we’re about to switch from marketing mode to writing mode. OH! A few days ago I was going through my playlist looking for some innocuous background music to play while I wrote and happened upon something I’ve used before, and am now using again: Writer’s Mind. https://immrama.org/shop/writers-mind/

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  6. Oh, how lovely–and what fun ideas. I don’t have a great space yet, but we’re finally working on building shelves in our spare bedroom. It will become our library, and I’m hoping to add a comfy chair to create that space where I can truly be creative. We have a shared home office, but my loved ones are all NOISY, and they have a remarkable ability to need to be in the office the minute I begin to write. Barnes & Noble sometimes works well, but I’d love a space at home.

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