Throughout the incarnation of this blog, I’ve written at various points about finding the time to write. As a person who writes for a living, I know that there is a strong correlation between my productivity and the amount of time my ass spends in the seat! However, writing creatively vs writing to get paid is a bit more complicated.
You see, when I’m writing to get paid, there is an invoice to be collected that acts as an incentive. It’ll be relatively immediate (as anyone who writes on a freelance basis knows, immediate, can mean different things to different organizations), but I will receive a check for the time I’ve spent doing x, y, or z. It’s the carrot that gets my ass in the seat.
However, when writing creatively that incentive doesn’t exist. Sure, I hope that I will one day be able to live off the fruits of my creative labor, writing thousands of words per day and thinking up new ways to murder individuals for rhetorical sport, but that goal is too in the future and thus doesn’t do it for my dopamine-addled brain.
What does do it for me?
The sweet ecstasy of a creative project onfolding before my eyes, the relief of bringing to life the scenes that have been playing out in my head, and writing simply for the cathartic sake of seeing that I created something out of nothing. I’ve found, that is what does it for me!
In an effort to harness these powers, I’ve cleared my schedule of some excess and allowed for downtime, peace, space to be bored, for I’m NEVER bored. And, on the rare occasion that I am, the lifeblood of a new reality is much more likely to come pouring out of me.
I didn’t realize that I needed this time.
I thought I could pack my schedule in the most uber-productive ways and have my life scheduled down to the minute, and then either wake up at 5 a.m. inspired with the thoughts of a new story come to life or sit down at 9 p.m. and out would flow the story that had been pent up inside of me all day. It’s just not the case. It wasn’t until I had started working with my therapist to sit in my feelings, to be present for them, give them a name, dissect around them and through them to see where the truth is.
It was then that I realized that my schedule didn’t allow for such creation, that my reflection on being a whole human being could be a fertilizer for the brilliant worlds I would create. To be a person with free time to do as she pleases and to be a person who is able to stop and write when the mood strikes her, dear God, that is the dream for me.
OK, but how?
So, how do I approach this and quantify it (because clearly, the old me is still there). In January, I’m observing, I’m tracking how many days I write organically and trying different methods for making that happen. I think, given the space that I will come to it natively, as I did when I was a child, choosing to write to fill a page because someone gave me a pen and a piece of paper. But, there have certainly been days when I don’t. In those times, I’ll just need that reminder to sit my ass in the seat and write. Having the time and space (and discipline) to make this happen is what I’m striving for this month.
…and to be a person who is able to stop and write when the mood strikes her, dear God, that is the dream for me.