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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

“Ideal Conditions” Is Code for “Writer’s Resistance”

e-b-white-writing-routine-quotesHow do you define ideal writing conditions?

Is caffeine essential to kick your brain into writing mode?

Would writing be impossible if your computer crashed?

Do you need absolute quiet and solitude? Or are background sounds and activity a must for you?

Would you delay writing for more than five minutes looking for a special pen, notebook or other object?

Has your writing ritual gone from useful tool to an obsession you can’t start without?

Do you think that if you don’t have a certain amount of time, it’s not worth starting?

What do you have to have to write? What’s the barest minimum you are willing to work with? When you do say “I can’t write in these conditions” or “It’s not worth starting unless ________”?

Although most of us don’t recognize it as such, the point where you think you can’t write is where your writing resistance begins.

It’s not the situation that keeps you from writing — it’s your unwillingness to either change or accept the situation that keeps you from writing.

Simple Solution: Get Perspective

imperfection 2Consider all the literature written before personal computers — it’s not that long ago that every writer used a typewriter. Before that, writers used fountain pens, and before that, they dipped turkey quills in inkwells. Most of our essential technology — laptop, internet access, wifi, smart phone — is not essential at all.

Remember Anne Frank writing her diary hidden in an attic. Consider the fatwa declared on Salman Rushdie for publishing the Satanic Verses.

Recall that the Bronte sisters supposedly hid their manuscripts in their needlework. Whether or not they hid their writing, they and so many other women felt compelled to hide their identities and publish under pen names.

Imagine countless writers who overcame physical, emotional and social challenges that far exceed the challenges you face and what they did to keep writing.

You won’t always have ideal conditions and you certainly will never have “perfect” conditions. Good thing you don’t need them, huh?

So, Cowboy up Cupcake and get to work with what you’ve got.

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2 Comments on ““Ideal Conditions” Is Code for “Writer’s Resistance””

  1. Joel D Canfield December 13, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    If we could transfer the obsession with environment and tools to an obsession with putting words together, we’d all win.


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