It’s WORKWEEK WEDNESDAYS! . . . . .On Thursday. . .
As I struggled to put this together at 1:30 am last night after a day of volunteering, teaching a class, lugging supplies and biking all over the tiny island I realized something about writing. It’s work, and last night it was not happening for me.
I calmed my nerves, took a deep breath——- and nothing. I drank some caffeine, I got mad, yelled at myself internally —- and no. That technique never works. I shook it off- gave myself the ‘ol pep talk: You got this girrrl, you can do it – easy peasy—focus Clare– aaaaand nope. Didn’t work either. I prayed to the muse, nothing. Words refused to come out of me last night. This post was not. happening. I was spent.
I am still learning about my own writing process and the time and energy it takes. A detail I decided last night for this blog (a work in progress by the way) was this:
Wednesday’s post will be on Thursdays from now on. It makes more sense given the nature of my weeks and the energy I need for writing. If John Oliver can do Last Week Tonight– I could certainly do Wednesday on Thursday. Why not?
So, You can now expect: WORKWEEK WEDNESDAYS on Thursday. It makes more sense— it’s slightly off but somehow- It works. I’m goin’ with it.
My writing process, I’m noticing, is much different than the visual design process that I know well. I’m learning about it as I write on a schedule with deadlines (although self imposed). Writing on deadline is something I haven’t done since college.
I’ve been working as a visual artist for years and I understand my own visual creation process well. The headspace that I need for art is far from the verbal, structured organized headspace that I like to be in in “the normal world”.
My “art headspace” is “out there”. The place I need to be in in my head to think visually and receive good imagery and bring it into form takes at least an hour to get to- sometimes more. I have to scratch and sketch through thoughts and words until finally—aha- I’m there. I’m in the visual zone. I don’t think in words there—there’s no time—it all flows—and when I have a deadline, I plan for those extra hours of internal travel time accordingly. It’s a nice place to be- some artists live there- often really good ones. They are natural inhabitants of what I call planet Art-Head. I don’t live there but I travel there often for work.
My “writing headspace” is much closer to the way “the world as we know it” generally operates. It’s the place I’m in when I write contracts and invoices, emails, or have a heated discussion. Our world, from my perspective (in the west) is structured verbally- words are how we’ve been conditioned to communicate. Expressing ourselves through them should be quick and easy because we’re used to it. Using words (writing) is not so far off from my normal thought process. I naturally think in words.
I’ll just bang out this post—super-quick. Bang! Wrong. Apparently organizing my thoughts and words is not as easy as I thought. Even talking requires energy- exertion of any kind takes a toll.
*I overestimated my energy bank/ work ratio for the week and voilá!: WORKWEEK WEDNESDAYS on Thursday was born. I was upset at first. Now I’ve embraced it. I’m happy with this accident and super content with the discoveries I’ve made along the way.
Everyone’s process is unique. Everyone’s head is too– What does your head look like inside? Where do things make sense or come naturally? Where are they difficult? Do you live on planet Art Head? or are you of Math-Mind? Maybe you’re sincerely Heart-Headed. I challenge you to observe your own head while you make something. Write, draw, make up new words to your favorite song, or bake a strawberry pie — and watch your head while you do it. It’s fascinating!! and fun. . . . and strangely surprising.
And if you’re interested in more about the writing process, here are two books about it that I found supremely insightful: Steven King’s will surprise you.
*Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg
*On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Steven King
. . . and thank you for reading this- time is precious.