Request - Creating the Environment to Write... Part 5

Re: writing environments to trick yourself to write--

I think one way to get yourself writing if you're finding your note is to take advantage of *alone time.*  And to be very aware of it.

I have a rule I made with myself early on--

1)  If I find myself in an empty house, I will *not* do chores instead of writing.

Yes, I might throw clothes quickly in the washer before starting to write, but I will not dust, sweep the floors, "tidy up," or do anything that I feel is "housework."

I have no better way to say this than-- 

I do not believe that because I was born with a vagina I am the one in charge of keeping this place clean.  

(Seriously, who came up with that rule?)

There are 3 of us here.  It's our home and my name is not June Cleaver.  Period.

I think when writers have time alone, they should write.  Second period.  That time shouldn't be squandered.

As you can see I'm obviously passionate about this.  I am.  


If you have a calling to write, a passion to write, a desire to write, you should.  

It should be your #1 priority and always in your mind like a cloud, floating around and somewhere in your thoughts.

Life is short, temporary, changing, and one-chance deal (well, you might believe in reincarnation, but you'd comeback with a different name so you couldn't use your writing credits anyway), so make the most of it.  Use your time wisely and as best you can.

Throw out your television (and maybe don't check your Facebook acct as much...or email, name your vice and eliminate it).  We each have the exact about of hours, your choice what you do with it.

The best writing environment is one where the writer writes.

It is whatever works for you--there are no wrong answers here.  If you're writing, you win.  It's that easy.

Make yourself a paper medal-of-honor and when you write, wear it.  You've earned a reward.  Or turn off the internet (something that has turned a lot of productive writers into not-as-productive readers.)  

If you need to do "research" on the internet for what you are writing, set a timer-- you have 10 minutes to find what you need, then disconnect the internet if you are even tempted.

Look at your environment and ask yourself, "What is causing me not to write?"  And work around it or get rid of whatever it is.

Know your own vices, what stops you from writing?

Here are my vices (in no particular order) and what I've done to "fix" them--

1)  Email

***Check first thing in the morning, check on my iPhone so I can delete/respond faster (you cannot write a long email on an iPhone- or at least I can't)

2)  Getting up to get more coffee/snacks

*** Um, I'm not sure this will ever be fixed, thankfully it doesn't distract that much.

3)  Not beginning

*** Writing down what I want to do with a designated time to start writing or how much time (i.e 15 minute, 20 minutes, etc), I will devote to it.

4) MSN or The Huffington Post (I broke the habit of checking this page and realized over the summer, it's come back.)

***Just not going to the website- seriously, I can beat this one.

5) Not knowing where to begin/what to do first/feeling overwhelmed

*** On weeks when I have lots of projects, before I go to bed, I make a numbered list of what I want to accomplish and how long I will spend on each project and put it on my desk.   When I wake up and am still in morning-mind, I know where to begin- I go to #1 and get to work.

6)  Occasionally Facebook, but the interesting thing about Facebook is-- the less you stay off Facebook, the less you want of Facebook.  

*** Facebook is interesting to me because when I'm not on it, I don't want to be on it.  I'm already behind in everyone's conversations and it just seems like a big volunteer job I do not want to be part of.

When I came back from my week retreat at Hedgebrook I went to Facebook and was completely overwhelmed.  What a lot of noise.  If I am in my best writing place, this is how I view Facebook.  If I don't see all the overwhelmingness of it--,conversation, photos, etc.--, then I am in American-in-2010 mind, not a great place because it means I'm caught up in the chatter and not in the quiet place, which for me, is best for writing and living.

Where can I write?

I can write anywhere honestly.  

It doesn't need to fancy, quiet, clean, or even private.  Those things help sometimes, but I will write anywhere if needed.  

Just make your writing space the best for you.  

And if you don't have a writing space, make one.  Even if it's your side of the bed, do something to recognize your space.  Just acknowledging a space can make someone write more (and better) because you're taking your writing seriously.

So that's my 5 days worth of answers.

I tend to be so mouthy about it because I think it's important.  If we want to write, than we should.  I believe there's a larger reason why we have this urge and we need to follow it- that's what I believe.  Even when it's scary and we're not sure where it's going or if it's even going anywhere.  

I will end with a few who say it better than I do--

Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else. 
Gloria Steinem

I can’t help but to write, I have a inner need for it. If I’m not in the middle of some literary project, I’m utterly lost, unhappy and distressed. As soon as I get started, I calm down.
Kaari Utrio

If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.
Emile Zola

--now, go live out loud.


  1. Kelli,
    Your comments about Facebook are exactly what I am feeling lately!

    When I'm on it -- several times a day -- it seems pressing, absorbing and even fun. But when I return after a few days away, it all seems so vacuous.

  2. Lately, writing has been done on lunch breaks at work (ability to concentrate brought to you by the Harold Budd channel on Pandora). On occasion, I will find time at home, after my, wife and kids are asleep, to the tune of the dryer and air conditioning kicking on.

  3. Bravo about the chores! The floor doesn't need to be clean enough to eat off of--that's why we have plates. Clothes don't need to be ironed; they just wrinkle again the minute you sit in the car and strap in your seat belt. I, too, try very hard not to waste time when I'm alone in the house.

  4. One of the best things I've done for myself is letting the housework wait.

    It's been fun to to take a peek at your environment. I love the idea of having a writing shed, provided the windows were high enough my loyal Westie Jack could not look out.

  5. I have my space to write but I always end up writing on the couch or even when I do the dishes... yes sometimes I have the perfect phrases that come just like that from nothing in the middle of... nothing :)
    I also have writing phases and painting phases. I tried to write for a certain period of time but it doesn't work for me, sometimes I write all day through several days and after that I find myself almost "empty" and I have to do something else until next time, which is kind of irritating.
    Wrote a post on writing on my blog today.


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