My first day of graduate school, a professor told the writers this phrase, “ass meets chair.” Most of us smiled and laughed but he didn’t. He was so serious.
I guess we all knew it was true. Writers or any artists for that matter, need to sit on their asses to call themselves writers or artists and produce words, pages, completed projects.
Now that I’m out of school, I’ve found that I don’t get anything done unless I give myself a deadline. Working jobs, taking care of ourselves and others become the priority above the artistic work and we find ourselves wondering, when can I make the time to write or create?
This summer I tried something new and didn’t look for a job. I work with kids during the school year, so come mid June, I’m out of a job until August. I usually always look for a job, but this summer, I didn’t even bother. I told myself I was going to work on writing projects and actually get them done.
I think where I’ve fallen short in the past is when I give myself a long-term deadline/goal and don’t actually map out what each day will look like. I need structure to do anything. It’s just how I work. If I have to much freedom, I don’t do jack. What helped during this project is setting a goal for daily page minimums. I told myself I needed to write 12 pages a day until I completed my script, and then edit. It was invigorating to sit on my ass and do the work each day, knowing that there was a goal in mind and once I got there, I could stop and go and horse around and be social. It is summer after all!
I learned to love the process rather than think about anything else I had to do with my time. I even loved the editing process, which I usually dread. I’m a busy body most of the time. I used to tell myself that I needed to have the perfect conditions to write so I’d go to libraries, coffee shops, friend’s houses, anywhere but my home. This summer I didn’t try to get the perfect writing conditions, perfect space, perfect exercise regime pre or post writing time, gum chewing, oral fixations. I just sat on the floor and started. I gave myself a page minimum and I didn’t stop until I finished.
I drank tea sweetened with stevia and did yoga when my body became fatigued.
Cow, cat, child’s pose, and half moon help relieve tension best. I would make sure to get out and exercise in the afternoon and read at night.
I kept it simple. This is what worked for me–a formula that I will continue to use when I need to get projects done. I don’t go back to work for another two weeks, so I think another project is in order. As far as how the writing will happen when I go back to work, I guess I’ll figure it out. I imagine it has something to do with being in the moment and accepting this moment as where I’m meant to be.