Ooh, I was so tempted. It’s actually one of my new year’s resolutions, to start pilates or yoga.
It’s only for an hour, I thought, plus travel time there and back (say another half an hour, to allow for chatting) but in the end, I saw sense and said no.
I will go with her once January’s over because I have got to get this second draft finished, I am waaaaay behind and I need to stay in my bubble.
When you’re writing a ‘longer piece’ – and this is definitely one of the tricky parts of it – you’re creating a whole world. And that imaginary world is fighting for time and space with the real world. The more time you spend in the real world, the harder it is to get back into the imaginary one. At least, that’s what I’m finding. I think that’s why writing gurus often dole out the advice to ‘write every day’. It’s about staying connected to the world you’re trying to create. I’ve just been to Center Parcs for four days (hence this post is late). And yes, the only bubble I connected with there, was the ‘subtropical paradise’, so trying to get back into writing today was hard work.
Stephen King advises writers to place their desk so it’s facing a blank wall (not even a window is allowed). Because you’re creating – you don’t want anything ‘real’ to distract you.
Marian Keyes gets into the writing zone by lighting a candle and telling herself ‘I’ll just do an hour’. (I’ve been trying this but I worry that I’ll burn the cave down).
I find it helps to: do my Morning Pages (which is like a writerly meditation. You could do yoga or actual mediation instead), stay off the internet until at least 4pm, avoid the tele’ until the evening and engage with the real world as little as possible.
I know I’m in the zone – inside that bubble – when the imaginary world I’m writing about starts to feel real. Perhaps, for that hour or so, it feels more real than the real world. Time flies – I don’t even notice it because I’m so absorbed in what I’m doing. It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like though, so I have to try to protect that feeling – that immersion – at all costs. And that means no pilates, for me. At least, not yet.
* The ‘message wall’ is state-of-the-art communication technology. You write a note by hand, stuff it in a plastic bag so it doesn’t get rained on and place it on the wall between your two houses, with a stone on it to weigh it down.
On a slightly different note, I’ve just (1 minute ago!) reached 800 followers so watch this space. In a couple of weeks time, hopefully, there’ll be a new random word competition, to celebrate!
Also – I always mention this so I’ll give it a little plug here – the Readers Digest 100 word writing competition (for UK residents only) is open for entries until 5pm on 19th February 2018.
It’s free to enter, there’s a top prize of £1000, you can enter as many times as you like, your title is in addition to the 100 words and for the first time they’ll be putting shortlisted entries into an anthology, which might appeal to you.
Just bear mind though, that – naughty, naughty – they take ‘worldwide copyright’ in all entries and can do whatever they like with your story (“We may use entries in all print and electronic media. Contributions become world copyright of Reader’s Digest.”). In the past, when they’ve published shortlisted entries in the magazine, they’ve paid the authors £60 or so but there’s nothing mentioned in the terms and conditions about paying entrants whose stories appear in the anthology.