How to Create a Supportive Writing Environment
Episode #10 of the course How to overcome writer’s block by Jurgen Wolff
When the environment in which you write is not supportive, it can become easier not to write. In this lesson, you’ll discover how to make sure you have a location—and some people—to support you, and we’ll finish with a quick look back over the course.
The Need to Focus
Writing, like any creative activity, requires focus. If noise is a problem, get noise-canceling headphones. You can also listen to white noise tracks or get a white noise machine.
If necessary, find a quieter place to write, like a library.
Sometimes a Little Distraction Helps
Some people like to have a bit of activity and noise in the background. You’ll find many of them typing away in coffee shops.
If you don’t have a coffee shop handy (or they throw you out after an hour), there are several sites online that provide coffee shop background noise.
One is coffitivity.com. It’s also available as an app for Mac desktop, iPad & iPhone, and Android. Soundrown.com offers the choice of coffee shop sounds, waves, birds, and a crackling fire in a fireplace.
It’s not just the physical environment that should be supportive, so should at least some of the people in your life. It’s hard to go on writing when we feel that nobody appreciates what it means to us. Your family and friends don’t have to like what you write; they just have to respect the fact that it’s important to you.
Solution 1: Train them. In some cases, the people around you aren’t aware that it’s hurtful when they don’t respect your writing. Let them know! If they make dismissive comments, point it out and ask them to stop.
If your friends think it’s fine to interrupt you because you are “just writing,” tell them you’ll call them back when your writing session is finished.
If your kids constantly interrupt your writing for no good reason, enforce a “no disturbing me unless somebody’s bleeding” rule.
Solution 2: Look elsewhere. If that doesn’t work, build a group of supportive friends. Join a writing group or take a writing course. If that’s not practical, go online. There are many writing forums and groups of people who will be happy to give and get the kind of support you and they are missing at home
Your Worst Enemy Could Be Yourself
If you want others to respect your writing time, you need to respect it too.
Sometimes we interrupt or distract ourselves, especially by checking email and social media sites compulsively. Use an app that allows you to cut off your access to these for a set period of time. Some are free, some require a fee. You can find them by simply googling, “apps that restrict access to social media.”
It’s a Wrap!
We’ve looked at how to take back your power by overcoming your fear of failure and confronting and transforming your harsh inner critic, and why you don’t have to be afraid of the first page and that it’s better to keep moving forward with your writing.
The practical block-busting tools you now have include interviewing your characters, using forced association, changing your posture, getting into nature, and imagining being a child again. Finally, you learned how to get support for your writing.
I hope that you’ve found this course helpful, and I look forward to someday seeing the product of your writing at my bookstore or movie theater.
All the best,
Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom Kelley, David Kelley
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