A few things need to come together for me to do my best work. Like anything I suppose, writing takes several elements in order for it to go well. It helps to feed myself, be well rested, limit distractions and have a plan. It helps if I am feeling good emotionally as well. Another important element is environmental.
When I committed myself to daily writing with ambitious goals, I began writing downstairs with the kids around so I could keep track of them. That was a huge mistake. They never stop talking to me and they continuously break my concentration. It’s frustrating. I love them and want to answer all their questions and love it when they show me the things they’re excited about, but I can’t look over every five minutes to see the Lego thing they build or listen to them explain every round of fortnite they played and stay in the zone in order to write. I had to make a change.
I moved upstairs into the spare room and now I can sit there and really crank out some words. I hit my optimal zone regularly now and get far more done than I was downstairs. Now they only come up when there is something really important to tell me, like they won the round of fortnite or they just wanted a hug and to tell me they love me. I can manage that.
It is also great to change up the environment to something a little more inspiring or relaxing. I personally love being a little closer to the natural world and a nice retreat away from things helps eliminate some of the worldly distractions that can get in my way. A couple weeks ago I took a trip for an entire weekend of playing dungeons and dragons (yes I’m that kind of nerd) and the house we rented was in the gold mining mountains of Northern California. I loved it. Even in the midst of drinking, laughing and gaming, I was able to do some writing in the calm mornings.
Now I’m in rural Connecticut surrounded by trees and my keyboard, notepad and iPad are all set ready for me to crank out a few thousand words. Something about being near the same trees that shaded Mark Twain have me feeling very nostalgic. So I highly recommend a retreat if your looking for inspiration or maybe even just some rest. It will be good for your spirit.
Here’s to great writing! Cheers!