For writers, it is crucially important to have space to write—both mentally and physically.
In creating mental space, consider the demands of life. We all have responsibilities with family, careers, friends, ministry, hobbies, pursuits, etc. Additionally, many things happen in attempts to distract and stress us. However, writers must be masters at compartmentalizing our lives in order to focus on the page (or screen). I strongly encourage starting on the physical page, because it will help eliminate the distractions that come from internet and email notifications. Silence the phone. Silence the mind. Go to a park. Walk around the block to think. Find quiet space and write.
In these quiet meditations, I believe God speaks and aids us in our purpose.
I recently encountered a song by Jonathan McReynolds called “Make Room.” I listen to this song often. You can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfEUDzGR4GE
The first four lines go,
“I find space for what I treasure
I make time for what I want
I choose my priorities
And Jesus you’re my number 1”
Now, McReynolds sings directly about relationship with God, but I could not help extending these words into my daily life. You and I are active participants in our own lives, and we choose what we do with our time. Every choice will either build or detract from the previous choice. I know I want to be a better writer, poet, pianist, photographer, editor, and educator, among other things. In order to do so, I must find the mental space required.
Furthermore, I believe writers should have a physical space to retreat in order to write and organize well. I have a writing nook at home with a printer, inspiring photographs, and other words all around me. But sometimes I write on the floor, especially when my husband is at work and I’m home alone. I keep my journal and at least one book with me at all times. I stopped carrying a purse a couple years ago. I carry a small bag—to make room for my books and writing tools. I bring this bag to church, to work, to family gatherings, to meetings, etc. If I find a few extra minutes, I may review some notes on something I am writing or read a chapter out of a book. I am currently working on a spoken word poem, and if I am sitting still somewhere, I open my journal and add lines. This helps me make progress, but it also keeps me in the frame of mind of writing. Because I am a writer.
It’s also good to organize space in journals and notebooks. Have a structured way to line your words up on the page. Put dates on journals or anything you’re writing. Organize your files and previous drafts of your works in folders on your laptop. Organize helpful resources to online links in your bookmarks. You should be able to readily and easily find the documents you need.
Today, I encourage you to make at least one small change in an effort to write more consistently with focus. If you need some ideas to help create your space—mentally or physically, let me know.