Thursday, April 10, 2014

Staying in the Flow

Spring is always a tough time for me to stay connected to my writing when work overshadows everything. And knowing that this happens to me every spring doesn’t make it any easier. So I have learned to recognize when I am falling into a void and pull myself out of it. That’s what I’m doing now, and that’s why working through a poem-a-day challenge matters. It’s my way of staying out of the void. Or for a more positive spin, daily writing allows me to stay in the flow.

What does a routine mean to me?

A routine makes the writing easier. Many writers I know don’t have a process, but as I get older (ahem!) I rely on process to maintain momentum. Keeps me from feeling detached, and it’s easier than starting from scratch.

A routine keeps ideas fresh. Yes, there is a start-up phase after a long drought, but after that I feel connected and hyperaware to my emotions and surroundings. When I’m in the flow, the phrase “everything is everything” takes on a deeper meaning. On the flip side, it’s hard to maintain any momentum if the work is sporadic.

A routine takes the pressure off. It gives me permission to write something that sucks. If I write every day, no one poem or blog post has to be the greatest piece of literature ever written. Isn’t that how we feel after not writing for a stretch, that whatever we get down on paper or computer has to be amazing? Consistency helps to quell that feeling.

A routine sparks creativity. F*ck inspiration. Put butt in seat. Write. Just do it (Thanks, Nike!). Make something happen. Grind it out, because it’s the constant churn that keeps the mind fertile.

A routine sparks routine, meaning it takes less time to get settled. And, it makes you more productive. That’s why a 30 day challenge is not a big deal. I mean really, I’m down a few poems now but by month’s end, I’ll be at a solid 30 because I know how to do this.

A routine allows you to say no. This may be the hardest to do. Right now I am retraining myself not to answer emails at 5 a.m. I’m also trying to keep most mornings, like this one, free to write. I don’t always succeed at it but it’s satisfying when I do.

2 comments:

andreabeltran.com said...

Thanks for sharing this, January. Grateful for this post this morning.

Tressa said...

30 poems here you come!

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