Working on my book has taken over the majority of my life. It feels good, like how I used to work creatively in university, and I’ve missed the atmosphere a lot. Alone in the place I call home, left only with the limits of my thoughts (well, and my three cats) and creativity, as well as the sound of music permeating the air: this is the space I feel I can truly create in. Not just creation for the sake of creating, but creating work that deeply reverberates within myself and my emotions. It’s writing that I’m proud of and moved by, which means it’s more likely to entertain and move others as well. That is the point of telling a story, for it to be heard. I’ve forgotten that since university, that things written down are meant to be read… not deleted and erased from memory.
I can’t really understand why I’ve been suddenly writing things that I’m happy with, but the closest explanation I can come up with is that I started living more honestly. I’ve started being less afraid of who I am, and of the world discovering who I am as well. Instead I’m excited, knowing I won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. But I believe this new self-confidence and authenticity is what’s made a difference in me. Not a difference in the quality of my writing, but in the way that I see it.
Writing takes place all over our apartment. The office, the dining table, the sofa, our bed, the living chair, the bathroom floor: nowhere is off limits for me and I change my location as often as necessary. Space has such a huge impact on the flow of my thoughts. So far, the best location for writing my fiction project has been in our main living area. It’s a combination of living, dining and cooking.
I have a late-Hemmingway mindset on writing: “By writing in the mornings, you make sure that writing does get done. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next.”
After I feed our cats in the morning, I’ll grab my laptop from its charging stand and cozy up with a cup of dandelion tea at the dining table. Late morning I like to wrap our vintage army blanket around me as snuggle up in our living chair for a while. The rest of the day is a little unpredictable, but I usually eat something and do housework before snuggling on the sofa for some evening editing.
It may sound weird to the supposed 70% of the population that’s extroverted, but I try to close myself off as much as possible when I hit my creative stride. And it’s not weird, it’s introversion. My very best ideas come from closing myself off from the world as best as possible. No phone calls, no texts, no emails, no going out for dinner, nada. Though I do still leave the house to get groceries and run the occasional errand, the goal is to stay in my creative headspace and not break my thought patterns with conversation and discussions of deeper topics with another human.
A lot of the most influential people and artists of humanity are/were introverted, and this method is a tried and true one. I sort of fell into this routine by accident, but many visionaries have been open about requiring seclusion for grand revelations. This holds true looking to religious figures (of all religions), political and human rights visionaries, thinkers and creatives. So many of them go off alone into a home, or nature, to return to society with clear outlines, thoughtful revelations and incredible works of creative expression.
I began drafting this post at 11AM. I’d already spent 4 hours of my day working on the first chapter of my novel. I’ve managed to finalize the first 2,266 words of my draft, which I anticipate is about halfway through the first chapter of the work. These words were written and revised over the course of 5 days. I have written more, but I believe the content will belong in the second chapter of the book. Time will tell, however, and I should know by the end of the week.
Once I have the first chapter written, edited and stamped with my seal of approval, I’ll write through to the end of the story without editing. I want that first chapter to remain a springboard whenever I feel I’ve lost my voice, or like I’m stuck stuck, to remind me of the ambiance I want to achieve. That’s why I have to be happy with it before continuing. My goal will be to write 500 words a day. It’s a small daily goal, but it means I may be able to write a messy first-draft in 6-12 months from now. That’s if I continue to make time to write every morning.
Is talking about any of this helpful, or inspirational to anyone? I always found it fascinating when minds I looked up to shared their process for discovering an idea, or creating a work. I also love to hear how peers prefer to keep their writing environments, or what their ideal environment is.
Anyway, though I take much of my inspiration from the views outside, I haven’t gotten out of the house to take any photos in the surrounding area. I do try to go on walks throughout the day, but I haven’t found the need to take a break from writing this novel yet. I plot and plan as I walk, and figure out dialogue, instead of focusing on how to photograph something that inspires me. Sometimes I test dialogue aloud, talking to myself as I walk, which probably makes me seem like I’m crazy!