It's been a downer of a week and after last night's meeting with my writing partner, I've decided to get back to the 'task at hand' so to speak, and update you on my writing efforts.
Once again, I'm struck by how influential our surroundings can be on our creative flow. In the month and a half since we moved into our new apartment, I have been writing more here and in my journal than I have in the last 2 years! I can attribute it to the fact that my husband and I currently don't have network OR cable TV, so the only time were tuned-in to the tube is to watch a movie. This has made the act of turning on the TV so much more intentional and less of a "I'll just have it on the background" distraction. I ask myself: do I want to watch a 2-hr movie, or do I want to spend my time doing something productive? Now if only I could convince my husband that we don't need cable, but that will never happen. And I'm sure that once Grey's Anatomy is back on I would definitely miss it.
So with all my TV-free time, last Saturday I spent 3 whole hours working on an assignment for my weekly writer's meeting, and I pulled together a cohesive draft after struggling with it for months. I started the piece before my partner and I agreed to begin meeting, for myself, but I think the lack of direction I felt had everything to do with the lack of accountability and the lack of personal space.
For awhile, I felt so guilty blaming my lack of creative energy on my surroundings, but the more writers I meet the more I realize that to hear the truly creative voice within yourself, you have to find a place where the other distracting, condemning voices fall silent. Living with my in-laws in my husband's bedroom with no space of my own is not what I would call "distraction-free."
This is why I felt so compelled to write during my time studying abroad; having ample time to myself, the changing scenery, kept me in a state of perpetual meditation and inspiration. This is also why I felt compelled to write about meditation earlier in the week; if you take time for yourself, whether you practice faith or not, you will find that you have much more to say than you imagined. The doggedness of running around and fulfilling schedules and appointments can inhibit our connections to our creativity because we haven't made it a priority. We haven't let it speak to us.
So anyway, new apartment + new writing partner = new-found writing motivation!
My new assignment for next week: read a few chapters of one of my writing books, and finish 1 or 2 short writing assignments from it. While some writing books are cheesy, I actually find them helpful when everything I have been working on feels stale. Trying an assignment can help divert your thoughts and help you look at something with a new perspective. Maybe if I think it's good enough I'll post it here next week.... We shall see.
What about the rest of you writers? What are you working on? What kind of "exercises" do you to spice up your writing?