Timelessness is a chronic disease that once contracted, requires aggressive treatment if the patient has a chance of recovery. Symptoms include: persistent procrastination, inventive excuses, unhealthy fixation with mind-numbing TV programs, and a dusty keyboard. Untreated, this disease leads to a mindless zombie state only capable of consuming content, backlogged imaginative narratives, culminating with the death of another writer.
According to the Big Book of Writing Medicine, 2nd edition, treatment consists of copious amounts of caffeine, a workable laptop or notepad, and no outside distractions. Repeat daily until the writer complains of a stiff lower back and numb-butt.
First and foremost, block off time within your schedule. Hours, minuets, between class, before the next meeting, while the kids are at school, decide when writing can take place. Trying to squeeze it in whenever possible can be helpful, but it should never be relied upon. And if you procrastinate as I do, you’ll likely neglect writing until you’re too tiered and long for bed. Even twenty minutes before work, just stick to whatever timeframe you set for yourself.
When are people likely not to be around? For most, it’s likely during the early morning, or, late at night. Now when I say early morning, I mean four, five in the morning. Get up well before the sun rises. Yes I know, no one wants to get up THAT early. And yeah, you’ll have to get your ass to bed at a decent hour the night before. In order to write, do anything creatively, you MUST get enough sleep.
Have trouble functioning without a pot of coffee and hours of quiet contemplation? Of course you do, you’re a writer. Writing and coffee go together like peanut butt and eggs (seriously, scrambled eggs and organic peanut butter are amazing).
Hop in a cold shower. A trick I used when in college, between my post-work nap, and pre-class, class, was to hurl myself beneath a man-made artic waterfall. The general rule of thumb here is if you’re not hyperventilating, it’s not cold enough. You’ll likely curse me for the suggestion after your first polar plunge, but I promise the shock, uncontrollable shivering, will electrify your mind awake – perhaps because it thinks you’re dying. Science backs this method and there are added health benefits, so perhaps do a quick search and consider adding cold showers to your morning routine.
Maybe your household is buzzing at five in the morning. Writing at night after seeing everyone off to bed might be your best option. Personally, writing at night is always more difficult because the day’s experiences have influenced me. What I mean is, if my boss piles on last minute projects, if someone cuts me off on my way home from work, this impacts my mood, subsequently my writing. If you choose to write at night and struggle as I do, try giving yourself a period of decompression before creating. Over the years, I have found mindful meditation helpful.
Before you unsubscribe because you think me a loony spiritualist, or theist peddling convert, allow me to explain. Mindful mediation is nothing more than you sitting alone, ideally in a quiet environment, increasingly becoming aware of your thoughts without fixating on them.
Now this is a simplistic explanation, and I would love to go in-depth on the subject, but I’ll leave that for more knowledgeable minds. Google it.
If realizing how truly fucking nuts you are through meditation doesn’t jive with you (talking about the incessant chatter called “thought” we all experience but few recognize), than maybe try drugs or, combining the two.
A relaxing cup of chamomile while petting your cat, dog, significant other, could also work.