This week, it hasn’t been so much about the number of different places I have written – although I have used my laptop in the car and on trains, and I have made notes, drawn up plans, and fleshed out characters in notebooks in a meadow, in hospital waiting rooms, and on the beach. Nor has it been about the amount I have written, although only on retreat do I usually write more than this.
It has rather been about a shift in attitude. I have had to focus on how I can write more, and thus on when and where I could write instead of doing something else. This has involved a great deal of planning: each time I am getting ready to leave the house, I have to work out what the writing opportunities might be while I am out, and therefore what I should take with me. Should I pack my laptop? It gets heavy after a while, so I don’t want to take it unless I’m going to use it, but I would hate to miss a chance to get on with one of my stories or articles. And if I do take it, will I need the charger? Or would I do better to manage with just a pad and pen? If I’m expecting to be at home all day, I work out when I can write, and what my back-up plan is, so that my intentions don’t get derailed if family or friends drop in.
All this puts writing far more at the forefront of my mind. At the end of the day, when I’m tired and not feeling very creative, I’m used to having to decide how to wind down before bed. I ask myself whether I should get the breakfast things ready for the morning and tidy the sitting-room, or flop in front of the television, or go to bed early and read. And now this little voice keeps piping up with, “Or you could write!” I might then argue with it: I might say that I’m not in the right space to hold the threads of my novel in my mind and write some of that, or that I don’t have the concentration to research the next article. The voice then reminds me that I could start editing that chapter or this short story, or I could make notes of so-and-so’s motivation. And so I do. I’m finding myself more and more often looking forward to getting my hands back on my laptop, and I’m beginning to think in terms of when, rather than if, I shall write this evening or tomorrow morning. As well as writing more than before this challenge started, I’m enjoying the anticipation of writing regularly. If nothing else changes, it will have been worth it, for that feeling!
I shall post another summary next week, and I also post each day on Twitter.