Honouring the writing space
A place to write
Create a space where you feel comfortable to write, to read, to think. A place where you can’t be observed, disturbed or criticized and where you are free to speak out loud to yourself and read your work. You might carve a little corner of the house, an office, a shed (I write in a little shed – above).
Prepare your writing space with a small table or desk and a supportive chair and gather the implements that will help you as you write. Organise the area in a way that suits you, near natural light, electricity points, a reading light, a view or perhaps not.
• Notepad, pens, pencils, highlighters
• Dictionary and Thesaurus
• Grammar references
• Laptop / PC or Tablet
• Audio device for recording work
• Filing system
Of course, none of these things are imperative except possessing the will and the passion to write.
Make your writing space a pleasant place in which to spend your time. You’re more likely to want to go there to write if you have made an effort to make it comfortable and welcoming and have surrounded yourself with some of your personal belongings. I have a cluttered little place but everything in it, means something to me: A collection of feathers, stones, books, little notes, meaningful quotes, snippets of writing, my kids art work, old letters and photos, newspaper cuttings – in fact, all sorts of things.
Invest in a good pen, maybe have your name or a quote engraved on it – after all, apart from your imagination and determination, this is one of your tools.
Set yourself a realistic goal to write
Start simply, create small, manageable goals. For example, you might set one of your first goals to write a list of your own moving profound experiences, they might have been times of joy, pride or sadness, the ending of a relationship, a new beginning or connecting deeply with someone.
Writing about powerful, emotionally charged aspects of our lives is often a good way to start writing.
Some of my own experiences
- Saying farewell to a particularly kind, supportive teacher
- Observing a couple reunite at an airport
- Leaving the United Kingdom
- The sudden death of my young mother
- My wedding day
- The birth of my children
- My fiftieth birthday
Don’t worry about editing or producing perfect prose, just get the damn list written and high-five yourself for achieving your first goal. Your second goal might be perhaps to flesh out your list and this his is where it becomes exciting.
I find it useful to brainstorm and I make a big, illegible mess as I recall memories, connecting them to feelings and words. Maybe you’ll chose one experience at a time, do whatever works for you but I bet by now you’ll be chomping at the bit to write more.
Here is an example of how I approached writing about the death of my mother, I started with just words, anything really that came into my head about this time. You might like to try this too.
Shelagh’s tip …
I have a little red notebook crammed with ideas, words, sentences and observations. I take it everywhere with me even though it’s full but it is a great prompt if I’m sitting on a train or someplace other than my writing space at home.
Hey guys, if I can do it, so can you. 🙂