This is a guest post by Ricardo Elisiário.
If you’re often caught inside boring rooms doing work that doesn’t exactly relate to the craft of writing, then know there are still ways to make it happen.
Writing whenever and wherever is not just empty talk.
I think everything starts with being (much) more mindful of how we act instead of just letting our time run away, unused and unexplored.
Our thoughts live to be diverted in so many directions that are void of meaning and productivity. Those are the minutes that, if accounted for, will be the path that our writerly roots push through to tear apart every irresolution we hold on to so bloody dearly.
Work it out in your imagination
To start off snapping out of that dull mindset nurtured by boredom, doubt, and procrastination that seems to justify itself, you should be sure that there’ll always be an audience for your art.
Know too that there is much, of all sorts, to be obtained through this journey. It’s a lifelong trip that in truth can be built quite simply, on our passion for words and tales.
Be you working in an office, behind a counter or outdoors, there’s this one aspect that is never bound to the place we’re at—our imagination. If you think yours is conditioned by surroundings, I may as well reiterate that there’s only the act of creating something, or not doing it.
So the first step is to avoid this self-made mess that is motivated by an anxiety to be productive and succeed.
Instead, try to meditate a little on your story plan and what array of feelings you want to convey in your book. The rest will follow and the staircase will slowly be laid up for you to climb and see for yourself where it’s leading you next.
Note down random thoughts and ideas
You might find it interesting to connect the dots of your narrative, or maybe create new ones if those you first drew don’t seem to glow so bright after some time left untouched.
Our thoughts are so very plastic that we fear losing great ideas whenever we can’t note them down straight away.
Yet, it’s as many of the greats say, that any ideas not pungent enough to be seized by one’s own neurons, will never serve our readers well enough anyway.
That’s why these random entries shouldn’t feel like a duty.
Rather consider them a good obsession. A useful habit for when you’re trying to come up with new ideas for plot, title, or even a peculiarly meaningful name for your main character.
Scribbling notes is a good way to kick-start your writing marathon. By having this sort of journal, it’s easier to stay inspired because you stop feeling like every cool thought that you have during times of distraction ends up fading away or losing its punch.
For this reason, I say you might as well immortalise them all, not that you’ll ever use them.
It but means that your mindset is devoted to the ongoing project, and that’s all that’s necessary—especially for writers who struggle to devote time to sitting on their computer, typing.
Use word processing apps
In facing writing as a mechanical process, it’s only natural to make it out to be this activity that requires at least a few preconditions to be done as effectively as possible.
In truth though, you need only an outcoming flow of words and a base on which to lay them.
This meant a stable desk to hold a typewriter, paper sheets, every other stationery, and your tired elbows.
Currently, look at how our mere phones themselves have grown more useful and capable than we, authors, often want to admit.
They’re easy and the needed apps for all these devices are mostly free. But there’s also paid software if you’re a writer who needs the extra functionalities and likes to feel that you’re literally investing in the process.
Nowadays we no longer have objections nor aversion to working remotely, not when doing it for others and certainly less when it’s for ourselves.
So whether at home, during lunch break, or when waiting for the takeaway pizzas to be ready while you sit in the car, just worry about writing—technology will sync everything else for you.
Listen to podcasts for motivation and skill
When addressing those of us who have little time to write, I’m also sure I can say that we have even less opportunity to spend moments reading.
Here’s where the listening part comes in: why not enjoy a story more passively?
You might not catch as many new words or beautiful fits of description. Maybe you’ll miss some innuendos too, but you’ll interpret it with whatever part of your brain remains connected to your ears while you’re busy.
It’s very beneficial, be you in it for the inspiration or even if for you it’s always more about being practical, and so you kill your lust for knowledge with a podcast that’s more insightful.
And although I think it’s worth it to keep the mind entertained when one’s not occupied with anything linked to our life’s art and craft, I know too that at times we should rather use the silence to focus and achieve what needs to be done without distraction.
After all, it’s only wise to keep in mind that one shouldn’t buy into something simply because that’s what we think we’re supposed to be doing.
Be objective during your time off and write!
For many writers and other creatives, procrastination comes in as big a measure as our will to get things down and going.
It sounds like I’m going on a loop but this is relevant, for it is the cause of most writer’s block. You see, once the time is on our hands, it needs to be made use of.
It seems so linear that everything could flow tightly according to plan, but then, once you sit down to produce what you’re envisioning, the pettiest reasons serve for an excuse to keep postponing the writing process.
We call it plotting, research, tidying up the desktop like they’re each a part of the ultimate wheel that shall remain cranked until certain conditions are met.
The point is that it’s hard to inscribe the first word of a document.
In the end, there’s just too much weight being put on a first draft when it’s nothing but a block of good ingredients from which—after proper amalgamation and tasteful processing and polishing—shall come to life a fully-fledged piece.
Mindfully use your time shortage as fuel
While some things in our daily routines can be postponed, even if it compromises our comfort and health, there are tasks and appointments that cannot be avoided.
In such situations, it’s smart to anticipate the moment when you’ll be forced to unplug.
Write your piece normally at your own pace, but as you realise that the time to get off the chair is coming soon, leave it at a moment in the plot at which you know where the story is going to move towards.
By pausing your word flow at exciting scenes, you’ll purposely leave yourself hungry to return to your inspired state of mind. Makes it easier to continue typing it like your thoughts never left the draft page.
Promise you’ll think it out in such a manner that you realise that the earlier you start, the sooner you transcend the threshold separating a piece of work from a piece of artwork.
The fact is that the stage for contemplation of any finished creation is meant to be longer-lived than the load of struggles that came before you inked the final full stop.
But like everything in life, the first step is always about faith and commitment. Then it feeds itself and you need only hop on and not be the fool who takes the high so casually that they let their roaring locomotive run out of fuel.
Ricardo Elisiário is a frenetic freelance writer for hire. He should probably act more like the agricultural engineer he is, yet you’ll find him creating copy and content for websites, print… and his own amusement, as he’s up to becoming the new Dickens someday. To find out more about this Lisbon-born wifey-lover, visit his website or say hello @rmelisiario.