It is high summer where I live. We’ve had a minor heat wave. The weeds in the garden are thriving. I have a rule for myself — one hour a day in the yard, thirty minutes a day riding my bicycle.
But . . .
Today it’s raining. I’ve excused myself from the garden chores and the exercise. I’ve cozied into a sweatshirt and have a pot of flavoured coffee at hand. I’m parked in front of my computer and loving it!
Lately I’ve been suffering, not from writer’s block exactly, but from a lack of “flow,” that magical element that lets the story run from my brain (heart) through my fingertips and onto the keyboard. Some days it feels as though every word is wrenched from my mind, wrestled onto the page and lies there like a slug. No flow.
But today, on my mini-holiday rain day, all the pieces seem to fit, I’m writing, I’m creating. Life is wonderful.
And the garden is getting watered besides.
All of which goes to show what contrary creatures we writers are. Sometimes I crave routine. Same place, same time, every day, butt in chair, that gets the story on the page. Other times, like today, I’m delighted to change it up, finding inspiration in the unexpected.
Many writers demand solitude, they write in the middle of the night, squirreled away in a cubby hole, barricaded against distraction. Others long for company. I have a friend who goes on a weekend retreat with other writers a few times a year. She finds those times precious and particularly inspiring for brainstorming new work. Jacqui Nelson has a weekly writing session with another writer at a coffee shop. She says “Those 2 hours every week are inspirational, fun, productive, easy to get to (a 15 minute walk from my home) and they help keep me connected to the outside world and to another writer.”
I like to meet up with another writer, or two, to discuss writing techniques, the writing life, plot problems and the state of the industry, but I could never write with another person — I’m too prone to chat!
All of which proves there is no one “right” way to write. There is likely not even one “right” way for any individual author. We need variety to keep us motivated and fresh. But whatever method we use, the important thing is the story. With story top of mind, the method will sort itself out. Today, that method is lots of coffee and a rainy day change of pace.