I recently had a phone conversation with an old friend with whom I’d been out of touch. During the course of the conversation she asked me about writing, not really about mine specifically, more how does one go about it in general?
I had to think about it. Well let’s see, since I do it early before the kids break the silence, some sort of caffeinated beverage is required, preferably hot. Pajamas. Pajamas and warm feet, so socks or slippers are helpful. It’s nice if my desk is tidy, less distraction, but since this is a rarity I can’t really depend on it. It’s more of an ideal than a reality. Other than that, a blank or half-filled screen, (although the half-filled is easier) and oh, one more thing, motivation.
If you want to completely demystify the process, consider the act of writing as nothing more than a behavior, or series of behaviors, and behavior needs a motivation. It can be intrinsic or extrinsic but motivation to carry out the behavior is required. Funny thing about behavior, we don’t usually engage in anything without some sort of reward, carrot if you will, dangling out in front of our noses. So with writing, it helps a great deal, in fact I would say it’s almost essential, to be intrinsically motivated to write. The act itself is the reward regardless of the presence or absence of tangibles (money, publication, life-style of the rich and famous).
A few weeks ago some people were bantering around the question as to whether or not writing was hard. Some said yes, some said no, some said they loved having written. The looking back at what was accomplished with the satisfaction of it being done. I imagine you could determine from these answers how some people force themselves to their desks, glare out down the stretch of a stick so long the carrot is barely visible out on the horizon. I’ve done work this way, so have you; it is very hard. Believe me when I say how grateful I am for those days when I have carrots pop up just by pushing my keys.