Out of the blue, this morning, I heard this phrase in my inner ear: Writing doesn't have to be a chore.
Okay, I thought, I'll write about that. Thank you, subconscious mind!
Writing, I wrote, on the nearest piece of lined paper, doesn't have to be a chore. It can be an adventure. A pleasurable break from ordinary life. A source of inner delight. And a real comfort.
Writing can be all these things, for several reasons. But the core reason is, it focuses your mind on just one thing, not on the zillions of things you should do, and yesterday.
Writing takes you away from all that. As in, it gives you a vacation from your most worried self, the one that keeps you running on a treadmill, day after day after day. But there's more that writing can do. Much more.
Hah, you may be thinking. Sure.
I can understand your skepticism. But I'm not suggesting anything to you that I can't prove. Although, the deal is, you have to be part of the equation. You'll have to show yourself how writing can be a comfort and a pleasure, how it's really possible.
Here's what I have in mind: A simple way to begin writing -- without dragging tons of internal pressure behind you.
First, you find about five sheets of paper, and a pen that writes smoothly. And you sit down in a comfortable spot, with something to support your paper, if you're not near a table.
Second, you think of a four- or five-word phrase that conjures a peaceful image in your mind. "Black cat, curled asleep." "One drop, water ripples long." "Mist hovers, canoe glistens." A haiku-like image is good.
Third, you read your short phrase and zone-out, letting it sink into your being, as if in meditation. Sit there with your phrase, gathering daydream-y associations. For about five minutes.
Fourth, start writing your associations down. But begin by writing down this phrase first: "I remember when . . ." And take it from there.
By giving your mind the time, and the place, and the means to play in this way -- to frolic around in its right-brain imaginative faculty -- you are giving your mind and yourself two comforting things:
- Relaxing your tensions, you enter a stress-free playground.
- Giving yourself the experience of writing as a form of play, you learn that your playful imagination is the best possible springboard for good work.
Try using your "writing playground" as a warm-up -- before you tackle the writing for your book. It will lead you into the work you want to do, without stress or anxiety blocking your way.
Writing doesn't have to be a chore. Create a playground for yourself, instead, and writing can become a pleasure and a comfort both.