Before I had a child, I spent many hours thinking about how to write. Where would be the best place to write. And when. I even messed about with an overly long, fraught manuscript loosely based on my own life.
In this time I also did lots of creativity-enhancing exercises, which I’ll share with you in a later post.
When my son was born, I panicked. My writing career was clearly over before it had started. When he was three, and started attending a local play school, I ran home to write. I sat in the mess (toys, unwashed laundry, dust) and opened my laptop.
I realised all you have to do is open the document. Open it when you have no idea what you are going to do. Start writing when you have no idea what will happen in the scene (or, very little).
Writing a single sentence made me feel calmer. Writing a page was a meditation. Writing a book was paradise. You can read about that particular process here!
Nowadays, before I write, I plug in. I hand it over. The deal is, I show up (and open the document) and the universe does the rest.
I am the hollow reed, an instrument for the story to come through as it wants to, but I am not The Author. At most, I am a co-creator.
The picture above is of a little dedication space I hold next to my desk – its objects represent my fears, wishes and difficulties. Here they are transformed in a process of surrender, and returned to me all sorted out.
If you really want to know how to write a book, that’s it.
It’s easy. The difficult part is only ever in our own heads. Give it up.