Sunday, 26 February 2012

Inspiration is Hard Work

The last six months or so have been seriously productive and positive for me. I have had actual paid articles published by actual national magazines, and I have a good idea of the direction I want my writing to go in. (Grammar Police! Do you know I still have to psych myself up to end a sentence with a preposition? In fact, that whole sentence should be re-written but this is MY blog so I won't. Ha!)

Where was I?

So yes. I know what I need to do. I've had six months of really quite disciplined writing (and filing and updating and selling), every morning, and focusing on myself and my craft. Because all artists know that inspiration rarely just strikes; you have to sit down every day, at around the same time, and work. Paint, draw, sculpt, write, exercise those muscles of your craft. Train your body and mind to focus, and open the door to inspiration and great things.

I am hoping to have my two children's books illustrated by the end of the year. I have had that thought before, but I am saying it here: Somehow, I will make the SPACE to do this. Having no studio is a good excuse, but excuses are for wusses. Right, Sharon? :)

Now, I have a regular job and my majorly mind-boggling challenge is how to hold on to that creative and disciplined mind set and KEEP WRITING even though I haven't got those handy hours when the boys leave for school. I am a morning person and find that if I work at night, I am not as focussed. Working late at night on a regular basis also makes me less sparky during the day and turns me into a morning grouch, although I can pull a few late night deadline-meeting work sessions if needed.

Clearly, what I need to do is get up earlier and write before the household gets up. Which means that you might find me here regularly again, musing over my morning chai. Having Grammar Police moments. Talking to my sparrows, who are cross again because the last time we hung the bird feeder, it was too close to a branch and the naughty pigeons spent a happy few days gobbling up all of the bird seed and chasing the smaller birds away. We refilled the feeder this morning and hung it sensibly at the end of a skinny branch, so cheer up sparrows! And Spring is coming! The tree is sprouting tiny green leaflets, and Chas and I have had a happy morning servicing bikes in the sun. I don't know why anyone makes new years' resolutions in January, I advise mulling it over until Spring and then taking action then.

How do you make the time to work, if you do work at home? Share your tips!

Photo of Samwise, by Chas Sheppard

6 comments:

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

How wonderful for you! I'm so so so pleased to read this.
Here's my only tip: I set the oven timer so that if I take a break, I END it. It makes me more time-conscious.

Grandmother said...

Congrats on your publications. The discipline you describe is a key to your success, as well as your skill as a writer. I view my writing as my current work in retirement so when I'm home I allot time on weekdays to sit, read and write in one of two places- my desk or the chair in the living room (next to the french doors to the balcony in the morning sun).
p.s. Our dogwoods are blooming- ah spring.

Nan Sheppard said...

Oooh, Grandmother, we've got magnolias and crocuses :) Spring!!

My 'Office' is in the kitchen. I force myself to sit properly, with my laptop on a stand, otherwise my back tortures me.

Luna said...

Hi Nan
I'm happy to hear about your success and the upcoming illustrations. Like you I've found that being disciplined enough for regular creative writing is sometimes a struggle. But the funny thing is, when I don't make the time for it I'm affected on an emotional level. I get grumpy and pessimistic. It's as if all the little bits of stories that aren't let out turn mischievous and naughty in my head and create annoyances! :)

Choosing the part of the day which works for you is the key thing to determine and you've already done that.

I like the mornings also but I've found that little creative sparks fly during the day as well so I keep a notebook in my handbag. It helps stimulate ideas too.
Setting a time or amount to write also helped me. I have set my writing time for 3 hrs or 4 posts (as I'm also doing posts on my Studio's blog)

I found these tips online as well:
"Keep a journal.
Avoid distractions.
Reward yourself for a job well done.
Don't beat yourself up for missing a day.
In all, it will likely take some experimentation, and a few failures, before you find the schedule, number of pages, and recordkeeping methods that are right for you. Once you hit upon what feels right, stick to it and you will improve your productivity and attitude."

Happy writing!
Luna

Nan Sheppard said...

Thanks, Luna, it's great to have lots of encouragement! :)

Islandgirl said...

I hear you loud and clear Nan! :-) Challenge accepted!