The question I posed in the title is an honest one that I hope you’ll take the time to answer. I asked it to myself back in January. I was sitting up against a white wall in my apartment when the Zoom host let me into a room full of other students who were there for the same class — a writing habit class.
I signed up for the class because I wholeheartedly believed that I was lacking motivation, determination, or something else ending in “-tion” and that if I could just find it then I would churn out all the essays and blog posts.
At the end of that 2-hour Zoom confessional, I had my own Eureka moment. I wasn’t lacking determination, I was lacking an environment that was conducive to my creativity.
Up until then when I sat down to write, I dreaded it. My expectation before my butt even hit the cushion was that I was going to fail. I don’t know about you, but it turns out thinking you’re going to fail at something before you even start doesn’t exactly motivate you to start. Everything from the mindset I was bringing to the writing session to the actual seat I was sitting in would make me feel uncomfortable.
It’s why I ask, “do you hate sitting down to write or do you hate where you’re sitting?” because we can solve much easier for the latter than the former.
Your first step is simple, literally sit somewhere else. Figure out the parts you hate about your current writing corner and don’t invite them to come with you. If you prefer to write standing up, but you’ve been forcing yourself to sit, do the opposite. I know it sounds too good to be true, but changing the physical environment makes enough room for this new space to become one you love, feel safe in, and therefore can create in.
After you’ve removed the parts you hate in the physical space, add things you love. Since January, I’ve bought a writing desk, added candles, and a visual timer, all in an effort to create a space that makes sense for me and only me. The addition by subtraction and later by addition puts the ball in your court again. You are the writer and have always been. You were just introducing your writer to a space the suffocated the joy and energy from it.
I can’t promise that the physical changes will lead to instantaneous mindset shifts, but it does get the ball rolling. Every day I’m getting better at sensing my “I’m too exhausted to function” point in my writing day and stopping right before I cross over into grumpy and annoyed. Leaving the writing session on a friendlier note has helped me yearn to come back to it (refreshed and joyful) the next day.
Anything that involves writing (or creativity for that matter) requires us to have a space to create that doesn’t drain us the minute we step into it. If your current space does, ask yourself — is it the writing you hate or the place you’re choosing to do it?