Story: Ready to work?
Me: No, I”ve decided I’m only going to work at night from midnight to two. It gives me a nice two hour window of peace and quiet.
Story: Hoo boy. What fresh hell is this?
Me: What do you mean?
Story: This is not your normal routine.
Me: What does that matter? I’m a writer. I should be able to write anywhere at anytime.
Story: I agree with that…up to a point. But you have already developed a comfort zone in which you are able to write professionally and succinctly. Why do you want to mess with that schedule now?
Me: I was reading online about how this one successful writer practices his craft. He’s a bestseller so he must know what he is doing. He only writes between midnight and two a.m. and he drinks Earl Grey Tea. I have to get some Earl Gray Tea, too, and drink it out of a handmade clay pot sold exclusively from a New Mexican shop in Mesilla. I have to special order it and it will take six mlonths to get here because they have to carry the clay from the caldera of an extinct volcano in Central Mexico out by donkey. But that’s okay, I can wait. And he uses a BackSlacker-Max 2000 chair with multi-hydraulic pump and special cells that massage the lumbar region so he doesn’t t get stiff sitting up for two hours while writing five hundred words, no more, no less. I figure I do all that and I’ll have it made.
Story: Okay, before we have you committed, let me ask you something. Do you think there is a magic bullet to writing? Some magic key or special handshake successful writers know about?
Me: Of course not, but I would be a fool not to take a look at what other writers do and see if maybe I could implement some of their methods for my own purposes.
Story: True…but again only up to a point. Look, what you need to do is take bits and pieces from other writers, try them out, and discard what doesn’t work and keep what does. You’re not a robot. All writers don’t operate the same way. I know some who write everyday, some who write only in the morning, some who only write when they feel the story is ready to be written. They all have one thing in common, though, they do what is right for them.
Me: But I want to do this right.
Story: There is no correct way to write. Or wrong way for that matter. If you come to this profession thinking that way you are going to be in trouble. So stop thinking like that. You can’t become someone else, not in any facet of life. Find what works for you and stick with it. You don’t need special chairs or super clay pots or anything like that. What you need is a comfort zone that allows you to think and work on your story. Don’t get hung up because you’re doing it differently than another writer. There is no one way to write. What necessarily works for him might not work for you, and vice versa. You choose a million writers and they will work their craft a million different ways. Concentrate on you, on what works for you. You can experiment with process if you want; nothing wrong there. You probably should. This is not a static profession. Creativity is never static. But forget about trying to step into someone else’s shoes. Trust yourself, and trust your own instincts. You don’t have to become someone else. All you have to do is become you.
Me: Okay. But can I still have a cup of tea?
Story: With lemon sounds good.
Me: Story, you make me feel so silly sometimes.
Story: Well, you often don’t have far to go. Now let’s get to work.