Ideal conditions

Autumn on the Seine at Argenteuil, 1873. French Impressionist painter Claude Money was born on this day in 1840.  Died 1926.

Autumn on the Seine at Argenteuil, 1873. French Impressionist painter Claude Monet was born on this day in 1840. Died 1926.

A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper. – E.B. White

I do not have the ideal conditions for writing.

My preferred conditions are on a screened in porch at the beach. Although, truth be told, I get very little writing done when we’re at the beach. I dream that it would be different if we lived there year ‘round and not just one, very, very short week every summer.

I have okay conditions for writing. After sharing an office with wife and homeschooled child for a while, we finally bit the bullet and I got the former guest room while she maintains her office, along with said homeschooler downstairs.

My office is comfortable. I’m surrounded by memories of things I have loved, or still love. Posters from shows, pictures of my favorite people. Projects I have edited, and more.

I can close the door if I like and write to my heart’s content.

That is assuming I’m not distracted by Facebook as I am right now talking to a former classmate who also spends a lot of time on stage. Or when I have the television on, which is rare. Or more likely when I’m binge watching on Netflix. (When does House of Cards come back?)

But the quote by White is right. There are no ideal conditions for writing. You have to establish a place and carve time out of your schedule to write. There will always be distractions.

Always (be right back…)

In my office there are also mementos from Sherlock Holmes that I’ll be compiling into a special box from the show. There are bills to be paid, or filed. Plants to water. Books to read.

So while these and the other things I’ve listed are comforting and often inspirational, they can be just as distracting as Words with Friends.

In recent weeks, a couple of times I have carved out writing time in the middle of the night as insomnia or shoulder pain hit. If I wake up at 4:00 and can’t go back to sleep, I might as well be productive. I’ll write for an hour or so and then find myself able to go back for a morning nap.

There are other times when I feel so inspired by a writing topic that I can’t wait to get to the keyboard to pound away.

Those are very, very rare.

Still there are times when, even though I’ve had to force myself to park my backside in my desk chair, that the words flow beautifully. Once I get there.

More often than not, it’s sheer determination to sit down and put one word in front of the other.

Sometimes they make coherent sentences.

As I look around, I’m also surrounded by stacks of writing projects. Some that I’m finishing up for clients. More that I’m working on for myself to be published. One day.

I’m beginning to understand why Margaret Mitchell, Harper Lee and Oscar Wilde only had one great novel each.

Yes, I know Wilde also wrote plays and poetry. I don’t.

And currently, for what it’s worth, I’m not really writing novels.

But it has nothing to do with waiting for ideal conditions.



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