You’ve got to write. You want to write. For unknown reasons, the words shy away from the page. Such obstinate fellows! Increasingly their absence and the wait for their arrival irritates you. You begin to wonder what is wrong with yourself.
This train of thought wrecks your peace and the desire that brought you to the page in the first place. You get up from the writing table to make a cup of coffee.
While in the kitchen, you determine today’s not a good day to write. Or perhaps you decide you’re not a writer after all. Writers, you remind yourself, write.
I offer another solution, one using the power of intention. The practice is simple.
Jot down the intention for your writing, focusing on the day’s hope. You can aim for the entire week, but I advise making this a daily practice.
Several examples of an intention are: I intend to draft fives pages of my book; or I intend to hear the voice of my new character; or I want to begin a new story; or I want to create a transition between paragraph “C” and “D.”
I recommend the following strategy.
Be specific. Avoid vague language. State particulars.
Be realistic. Set achievable goals. By setting goals that are within reach, success is likely and motivates subsequent satisfying writing sessions. If you set the goal too high, the chance of failure increases and propels a negative spiral.
Intentions work because words relay messages to the body. They set into motion a wave of causation. They tell the body which direction to look and which path to take. The very process of setting and crafting an intention launches the writing. From here, it’s easier to continue the forward momentum.
Once the intention is written, take a breath. Stand up and stretch. Imagine the intention filling your entire body. Then set the intention aside and forget about it. Return to your seat to write. Let words come.
It’s possible that the initial words have little or no obvious connection to your stated intention. Continue anyway. Keep going. Establish a flow.
Often we have to write the flotsam (which can be deleted later) to get to the targeted writing. We may want a polished, first draft, but the expectation is unrealistic and sets us up to fail. Write craftless and clunky material. Write off topic. Write about what you see out the window or what floats in the periphery of your thoughts. Runners don’t just sprint up the street; they stretch their muscles in preparation. Writers, too, have to warm up the writing muscle.
For years I’ve relied on writing down my intention. I’m delighted at the effectiveness of the practice. What I imagine as possible turns potential into actual writing. Intend as much for yourself. Let the results please you.