We never stop being a writer, even if we’re not currently engaged in the physical act of writing. We spend our days with words, immersed in a symbiotic relationship with 26 characters that make up the known world.
Words are always with us, and inspiration is always around us. We writers have this burning desire to settle down for a cozy visit with our wise old friend, The Muse, eager to sit at his knee for hours, listening to his latest tales so that we, in turn, can pass them on through pen and ink. His words will become our words and, together, we will change the world. Right? Right.
But also, if you’re like me, we writers rarely have the luxury of leisurely musings. So, here I offer 3 ways to think creatively and write productively in a busy world that is often indifferent to our artistic sensitivities – throwing towards us the responsibilities of “day jobs,” home, and hearth.
1. Be ready to receive.
Inspiration is always pecking at our shoulder, trying to get our attention. But, so is almost everything else. We need to cultivate an awareness of our senses and our thoughts. Personally, ideas usually come to mind at the most inopportune times – like while I’m curling my hair in the morning (I have often put down the hot iron and grabbed my phone, texting myself words and phrases before they disappear in a haze of hairspray), while I am at work, or out for a walk. Be looking or listening, be open, and be prepared. Always have some method on hand of recording your thoughts.
2. Don’t limit yourself by compartmentalizing.
I used to think that there had to be a method to my madness – a sort of antiquated, eccentric forumula for success. For instance, writing while laying at the foot of my bed, writing for 3 hours straight, or only on a full moon with Coke and Twizzlers at my desk. Truthfully, we don’t need these things. We want them. And, if we’re not careful, they can be the crutches we think we need in order to succeed and, conversely, the rubble in the road that causes us to trip and fail. While having a set schedule or little ritual to get our brains in gear would be nice, we can’t always make that happen. Which, leads me to my third point…
3. Take what you can get.
Yep. Take what you can get, and run with it. Ten minutes waiting for school to let out? Write. Fifteen minutes left of your lunch break? Write. Thirty minutes before the laundry is dry? Write. Right? Right.
Every finished work begins with an observation, a thought, a musing that inspires. But we will never move another human being with our words if we don’t finish the sentence. Again and again. Every turn of a phrase, every finding of the perfect word, every tap of the key and scratch of the pen matters. Fight for it.