Not in the zone

I have to admit to becoming quite agitated about the forthcoming Scottish independence referendum. It is a huge decision and one that will have repercussions for years to come, whichever way it goes.

One week to go and the result is clearly too close to call. So while I have been trying to write, I have to confess that I can’t really concentrate: I am too concerned about how I should vote and how the rest of the country will vote.

Like most writers I write best when things are going well, when I am in a routine and I know where I am going. Disruptions of any sort can jolt me out of my rhythm and right at the moment I feel like I’m trying to trot a horse and failing badly. I keep going down when I should be going up. It’s not at all comfortable.

In an effort to get back in the zone, I’ve been trying to find out how other writers do it.  Here are a few of the suggestions:

  • Just sit down and get on with it – it is surprising how often you can spark your writing again simply by making yourself do it.
  • Set yourself an easy task – accept that you are not at your best and give yourself an easily achievable target. Once you have reached it you may well feel inclined to keep going.
  • Forget writing, try editing – read over an earlier section of your draft and you will inevitably find yourself reaching for the red pen. It all adds up to a better book.
  • Take a complete break – give yourself permission to not write, and do something completely different for a while. You’ll come back to your desk refreshed and more inclined to write.

So I’m off to walk the dog for a while. What could be more refreshing than that?

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