Holidays. Great for the soul. Bad for writing. The time spent away from the computer, the ‘mobile device’, or even – my word, do people still use these? – the old pen and paper: it all makes things much harder to start up again.
Everyone needs to live. We need people around us, to inspire us, to irritate, annoy, and love. You need new vistas, new words, new slang, to invigorate our souls. We need to see things in our minds, to find different ways of describing, fresh eyes. And then we need time to process these emotions – for nothing comes without attached emotion – and to absorb them into who we are.
But then we need to sit down and get on with work and to get writing again or a break can become a chasm.
This really goes back to what I said in ‘The first rule’. A writer must write, and I must get back on with this blog. Then the next time I sit at this keyboard it will be a little easier to find the right thing to say. The mind is like a muscle in this regard. It takes practice. It takes a daily discipline. And then, magically, it becomes the most pleasurable addiction. It’s like any exercise: running, cycling, mountain climbing – fight through the bad days until there’s no badness left.
If you’re a new years’ resolution to write – or to do anything creative – then the best advice I can give you is to find your time and do it. And, if you’re anything like me, that first session will be more frustrating than relieving. You’ll be worrying about how to set out your manuscript, how to manage your software, or simply wondering how to start. Don’t worry. It’s part of the process. This preparation time is progress.
And the second session will see you actually get something down. That something may be rubbish. May be good for nothing more than the recycling bin. It may, however, be worthwhile. You’re still working on nothing more than the base, the foundations. And then the third session, the fourth, the fifth – more and better will come each time.
That’s what I tell myself. Every time I start a project, in any field, any area. Just start. Just start and worry later – much later.
Just get it done.