Anyone who writes has that ideal image floating around in their cluttered brain of the perfect setting for writing. A room with a window overlooking a lake, an oak desk with a leather chair, a laptop on a beach…
Whatever perfection might be, rarely does anyone achieve it for the long course of writing “the thing.”
We often struggle just to get ten semi-quiet minutes to pound out that idea that’s been nagging at us for the last hour. With that in mind, what is it that we writers really need to produce our work?
10. the means to record our thoughts (pen & paper, word processor, a sharpie & forearm)
9. the idea (that thing that you must write)
8. a place to practice (face it, you may have to settle for the corner of the couch)
7. less distraction (not necessarily complete silence, but perhaps nobody trying to hold a conversation with you)
6. coffee (okay, this may be a slight luxury vs. necessity, but everyone has their own priorities)
5. the will to sit down and write, despite everything else happening around you
4. the determination to sit down and write, despite everything else happening around you
3. the focus to sit down and write, despite everything happening around you
2. the courage to sit down and write, despite everything happening around you
1. JUST SIT DOWN AND WRITE!
Our real needs are few, but our excuses are plentiful. We all have to face the fact that ideal conditions are rare. Our families will only take our writing as seriously as we do. We may have to ignore Facebook and Instagram for a while. We may have to serve mac ‘n cheese for a dinner or two– or (gasp) ask someone else to make dinner once in a while. We may have to sacrifice a little control in the real world to allow for the creation of another world. Conditions will never be perfect for writing. You must write anyway.
Think about the process as part of the story. Once upon a time a writer sat down and created an incredibly perfect novel. BORING! If the story is the thing, then the process can be the story behind the story.
“Against the most daunting pressure from work and family, __insert your name here__ showed the tenacity and strength of spirit to create this extraordinary piece of art – a commentary on life itself – and the world is a better place for it.” Much better.