STANDARD WRITING PROBLEM: GETTING STARTED, BUTT-IN-CHAIR (BIC)
I have been battling early morning starts.
I got to the computer chair, but I wasn’t making the decision to block the net for several hours and get my writing done, even though that’s what I always want to do, and it’s the only time I can (before the world crashes in and demands things).
So I stopped to have a think – usually a good idea.
DATA: What is actually going on?
And I found that the first thing I was demanding of my bleary-eyed self was a huge decision: blocking out all my writing time, and getting to work.
And I couldn’t make that important a decision – yet. So I’d surf for a while, check the emails, searching for something ‘out there’ that would get me started, all the while dumping the vast garbage dump that is the internet (even when you confine yourself to a few well-known blogs) into my brain for composting.
Don’t even ask me to do yoga or go for a walk – the decision-making engine isn’t on yet, and I wake up stiff as a board.
It occurred to me I was going about it wrong: what if the answer wasn’t ‘out there,’ the trigger, the jump start, the on switch? What if reading and commenting and bookmarking – just because my brain wasn’t up to full speed – was actually physically counterproductive.
One of the most difficult jobs we do is to mine for gold nuggets from the tons of ore – because it takes brain power to mine, and the brain ends up loaded with stuff which must be cleaned out before it can think.
Copying my writing process: who am I?
I do that when I switch pov on my characters: I take some time to ‘become the character again.’ I re-read the character’s last scene, and the end of the previous scene (if the previous scene was a different character). I take the time, think it through.
What if the first thing I have to do every morning, as in every scene, is to become ME again?
Instead of looking at the early morning planning time as: check the to do list, pick the important stuff, load the brain up, whip it into action, hurry, time is running out – what if I see it as (though it doesn’t feel this way – maybe from years of assault?) time to remember who I think I am, and to let a positive attitude (preceded by smile and prayer) to creep into my brain BEFORE I subject it to the long list of things I WOULD do today (most of which won’t get done)?
Am I reinforcing my own brain fog?
What I really want: to write
I am a writer. That is a constant PLEASURE.
Regardless of how my writing time is spent, in principle I allow myself some each day – because that’s what I’d do if I had no pressures on me.
Writing is ME.
Writing is pure JOY – and I do it playing in my own mind, with only myself for company.
I don’t need those people I keep looking for on the internet, in my family, in emails which sometimes come but most often do not.
My best play time is spent alone, unless I’m too tired to enjoy it.
Writing is how I communicate with my soul, though I will confess: NOT all of what I think will ever get written. Someone may later read my words and be hurt. I can’t keep frustration – we all have it – completely out, but I try not to do it deliberately, and certainly don’t want people to be hurt by what I really think – which I do only part of the time, anyway. We ALL have relationships with other people which VARY by the minute. Relationships are the sum of what we feel and think PLUS what we let out, conscious that we are not perfect ourselves.
Now that I know what I WANT, what do I DO?
Behavior – which includes speech – IS in our control.
Even thoughts – indulge the thought or work to replace it with a more loving Christian one?
Think of a pink elephant in the room.
Now imagine painting nice blue spots on it with a big brush.
Controlling your thoughts isn’t that hard.
And not having to deal with the huge playground/temptation/bottomless pit that is the internet before I’m even human seems to help. A breather. For my soul.
Update after a week: It is working!
I block the internet for a half hour only, and use that time to just sit at the computer, wake up, start the day by becoming ME again.
I’m starting the day with a brain just a physically muddled – that has to do with the disease, and there doesn’t seem to be a way of modifying it (yet): not caffeine, not breakfast or skipping breakfast, not sleeping little or a lot.
But, the same way I become a character before I write from that pov, I’m becoming myself before I have to face the world with it.
After the half hour, I take a superquick (less than 10 minutes, with the timer on) look through the emails and ask myself if things can wait. 99% of the time they can – and it seems so much easier to re-block the net for a bunch of hours and get to work than it had been.
Lesson: keep watching yourself.
Somewhere in your own data may be the answers to your questions. You know yourself better than anyone.
Does any of this resonate with your process for getting started – and around you wasting your own time? Or is it just me?