The Alchemy: A guide to gentle productivity in your writing

By Anna Vaught

An intimate writing guide that is for anyone who wants to learn how to improve their craft.

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Don't wait. Thoughts to comfort and motivate x

Hello everyone and thank you so very much to those who have pledged to get this book out into the world. It was really important to me to break that 10% in the first week, and we did it in four days. YAY. Now onward at the start of week three. 

I have lots of things coming for you in the next week or so - articles and features and the like - but there is something I have been thinking about and it's to do with not waiting.

If you want to write a book - or, for that matter, a single poem - do not wait for ideal conditions. What do I mean by that? That life is short? Well, sort of, but mainly that if you wait to put everything just so before you start writing you are deferring conditions to fate. Please understand that I am not being glib if I say don't wait until you feel happier, fitter, stronger. Until everyone is well, you have a room of your own, you feel clearer of head, grief has lifted, you are not struggling with a stressful situation. Start now. No, not in terms of pushing yourself so hard that you make yourself feel worse, but in small steps to ackowledge to yourself that you have begun. Whether it be that you do some admin, like write some acknowledgements - why not? - or a title page; or whether you take up some index cards or a notebook and just think about some things you have seen and keep asking yourself questions about those things, people and events. You have begun and that is key. Once underway, I appreciate that it is a fine thing to have a room of one's own, for inspiration to strike at 8.30 am like clockworm, for the muse to descend when you pick up again - and any number of wonderful accoutrements. Celebrate that if if you have it. But understand that genius, without going into some cringe-making trope of artists in garrets, resides also in an untidy life and mind, with a body sitting at the kitchen table knowing that it has many people to care for, that a lot has gone wrong and will continue to do so and, maybe, that is not feeling so well. THAT, my darlings, is how I have made my books.

So start. Inspiration invariably comes after you start writing. Keep it messy; clear it up. Start again. The key thing is to do it small steps and that is a point which I make repeatedly in The Alchemy. And I stand by this whether you are starting out or you are a more experienced writer.

To this we shall return!

Anna x

 

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