It is very important to organize your work process the way it is not a torture, but a comfort zone, especially if you want to produce something creative. We’re all different, and it is vital to discover your own way that fits you and only you, otherwise you’ll get stuck in the middle of nowhere to hate yourself for not being able to write a word or draw a picture or whatever your goal is.
Strangely enough, I never thought of it before, of how important it is to recognize and follow your own psychological pattern until I heard Episode 7 of Timothy Pike’s audio program Dream, Play, Write! where, within other topics important for every writer, he discusses the principles of building a writing system that helps you to move on in accordance with your natural inclinations.
I am not a marathon runner, I know that for sure. I can’t work longer than two hours. Ok, four, maximum. Of course, I am talking about productive creative process here. Definitely, I can stay at my work place longer, pretending that I am involved into doing something very serious, but not being able to produce anything worth attention.
I remember working in the office where first half of the day I rapidly did what I was supposed to, but after lunch I turned into a walking dead. Sitting dead, to be exact. Even when I tried, hard, really hard, I could produce maybe a quarter of what I would in the first half of the day. I had a colleague who was absolutely agreed with me on the point of uselessness of the post lunch hours. She believed that ‘after midday’ was the time to sleep, not work. So, in the afternoon we both dreamed of those days when the standard working hours would be reduced to four, while drinking a lot of tea and playing Mahjong on our PCs.
Thinking about all that I realized I am a sprinter, and, being one, I run, or work, very fast. I simply cannot do it slowly. If I start something it has to be done right now, as soon as possible, or never. Everything that is postponed will be abandoned and forgotten. I am very enthusiastic, but the waves of my enthusiasm are pretty short. So I have to perform whatever is planned while I am still riding the wave of initial excitement. When it stops, I cannot move anymore. I fall on the sand and stay still waiting for next tsunami.
But if you are a writer planning to finish a novel of 80 000 words you cannot do it in one jump, even very big one. No one can, this is obvious and needs no proof. So my task, as I see it, is to put myself at the start mark every day and make my short run until I’m out of breath, and then stop when the scene is finished. Or a dialogue. Or a sentence. Something has to be finished, so I can give myself a round of applause, and flowers, and the golden medal.
The biggest challenge, though, is to get to the start mark and make it an everyday habit. And that’s not easy. At least so far, at least for me.
I think a lot about how to make myself write every day, and as one of the goals of Writing 101 is to help and push people like me, I want to share some ideas here, with those who might be interested. I’ll be very grateful for any feedback.