My biggest barrier to getting words on the page is time, closely followed by the paradox of choice. For me, this paradox is the clash of excellent ideas with planned projects, and it would paralyse me if I didn’t have a few tricks to snap me out of it.
These four continue to serve me best:
- Disconnect your TV, YouTube, Netflix, or whatever else it is that sucks up your time. Stop checking your emails and social media. Turn off your phone. Tune out from your children’s banter… Your writing time is sacred — even if it’s a ten-minute car sit-in at the top of your driveway after work.
- Listen to music that can ease your brain into a natural rhythm. When I write with music, I tend to choose sonic backgrounds I know well: they are less distracting. Gwenno’s albums do this for me. Ray Brown. Curtis Mayfield. Mark de Clive-Lowe.
- Write with buddies. Even when you write in utterly different styles, writing with a buddy enables you to tap into a shared energy in a safe space — plus, they hold you to account.
- Write in timed bursts, and use your timed commitment for writing only. That means no research, no editing, no phone calls, no toilet breaks. Just new words.
It is particularly with these last points in mind — writing with buddies, and writing in timed bursts — that I compiled my Tomato Writing workshops. The next one is happening on 11 August from 1-4pm, with bookings via firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to see you there!
Lastly. In June, I won the inaugural PMI Victorian History Library’s Library Information Week Short Story Competition [quite a mouthful, yes?]! If you feel so inclined, you can read my winning story here.