Posted by : Sherri Cornelius Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ran across this helpful post over on Edittorrent. It's about training yourself to write. Not the craft side, but the practical side of getting into your creative zone. One of them, using the clock, is what I touched on yesterday and has proved to be very helpful so far. I've used all of their suggestions in one form or another.

One thing which helps some people is listening to music. I am not one of that group. I think it takes a certain ability to tune out the music itself while still absorbing the feeling it evokes--something I've never been able to do. Music inspires me, no doubt, but I have to turn it off while doing the actual writing. So maybe I could use it after all, as a trigger, like listen to a few songs before I write every day.

But I could easily see that leading to my biggest malady, as Theresa calls it: the lemmejusts. Lemmejust put the clothes in the dryer. Lemmejust write a quick blog post (as if that's even possible for me). Lemmejust research a little on the Web. I'd add a sub-category to that: Lemmejust find the perfect (whatever). That's where the music thing would lead me.

One thing I've had to do that Theresa doesn't mention is to give myself permission to write. I've had to really work on this issue over the past couple of years. That's why the lemmejusts get me so often, there's always something more important. But the writing is just as important as the laundry. Even more important, because laundry can be done anytime, while writing takes solitude and quiet, much harder to come by. I had to establish that writing fulfills me and is a worthy hobby, and then I had to get to a place where my needs were important. I still have to remind myself every day, give myself that permission anew.

But go on over and check out Theresa's post. Good stuff. When you come back, why don't you tell me some of your personal training tactics?

{ 12 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. I think I have finally overcome that hurdle of giving myself permission, which I think is particularly hard when you're a stay at home parent. Or when you're brought up thinking that your talent should only be treated as a hobby.

    Music doesn't get me into the zone, but it keeps me in the zone. But I've always need extra background noise in order to focus on anything. I can't listen to lyrical music, though. That's distracting when I'm trying to write dialogue. But instrumental stuff is a huge contributor to the mood of my stuff. Reading definitely gets me into the zone. As does talking about writing itself. Movies also help. TV, not so much. If anything, TV probably is my biggest killer of time and creativity. I try to avoid it when I'm hot on a project, which explains right now why my backlog of shows is so huge. lol

  2. I don't have any. I need a writing practice, but I keep getting derailed by those damn "lemmejusts". Nasty little mental goblins, those are.

  3. Allie, maybe it's because I studied music once upon a time, but ALL music distracts me. I need absolute silence for pure writing. When organizing scenes or editing I can have other stuff going on, but when creating out of thin air I need that silence. And yeah, tv is BAD. Good for you for handling it, instead of letting it handle you.

    Rachel, smack those bitches in the mouth and tell 'em to wait.

  4. "Lemmejusts" ... wow, that's a great word. I like it. They're a cancer. "Lemmejust do one more email check ...", "Lemmejust watch this one last episode..." (yeah, TV's bad, evil, and I love her so, the merciless whore), "Lemmejust see if I got any new blog comments..." Oh, the list is endless!

    I have no training routine, but you know this. And I have no writing to show for it, and you know this as well. So learning you've found ways to give yourself permission and are finding what works for you to get the fingers to the keyboard makes me smile. It makes me envy too, but in a good way. A way which may motivate me beyond my procrastination and laziness.

    Then again, maybe not. Heh.

  5. Permission to tap the creative side. It always gets relegated, doesn't it? Practicality rules. Darc has my permission to write, sometimes I wonder if he's not given himself that permission.

    I am ruled by lemmejusts and innaminnits. :)

  6. Knyt, one question: Why is TV a woman? I think TV is a guy.

    Fal, those damn innaminnits!

  7. The key for me besides butt in chair and internet OFF is headphones. If I listen to music with headphones on, I can focus better. Dont' know why, but it works.

  8. I remind myself how much better I'll feel about myself and life, after I write. Usually works. I think you may have to go through years of procrastinating though, first, to really get this one.
    That, plus choosing what enjoyable thing I'll do after I write, everything from eat a piece of chocolate to read a favorite book, or drive to the beach.

  9. Sarah, years of procrastination? Oh yeah, baby, I've got that. hehe.

    Wyrdd, there's that durned music thing again. I don't get it! :)

  10. The Lemmejusts remind me of the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz. They just keep swooping in and messing with me. I usually write at night because I try to think of it as the "work day" being over and the time really belonging to me. Maybe I have that backwards though? Would things be different if only my writing was allowed in the "work day" slot?

  11. Hi, Sherri, and thanks for the kind words about my post.

    You have permission to write. I'm giving it to you right now. Visualize yourself holding out your hand and taking the permission slip. It's yours now.

    And now that I've completed this little lemmejust, I'm going to go read some subs.

  12. Well thanks for coming by, Theresa! I read edittorrent every day. Now I've got that permission slip clutched in my grubby little mental fist, and I'm not letting go. :)

    Jaymie, are you a stay at home mom as well? My final baby went to all-day school this year, so I've got the house all to myself. It's quite an adjustment, going from night writing to day. Really, though, I still think of housework as my day job, even though I do it at night, too. I don't think of writing that way. Hm.


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