Create Your Writing Place

  I’m sure most everyone’s heard about Ivan Pavlov (pictured) and his conditioning experiments with dogs. He rang a bell in conjunction with serving food to a dog. Before getting the food, the dog salivated. Eventually the ringing of the bell (with no food in sight) was enough to make the dog’s mouth water. This is called “conditioning reflex.”

Imagine what would happen to your writing if you created a writing place that conditioned you to write when you went to it. You wouldn’t have any more excuses for not writing because you’d have a place set aside just for that purpose.

Your writing place doesn’t have to be a separate room in your home. It could be a corner of a room. Or a desk in a room. Or a table at a coffee house. Or a spot in a library or other quiet place. One mystery writer I know rented an office near her home and went to it to write as if she were going to work (because she was).

Depending on the place you create, you can make it as elaborate or as spartan as you want–it is your place. If magazine or calendar pictures of scenery or people help  you write about places or characters, post them. If classical music gets your creative juices flowing, listen to it. If you’re concerned about interruptions, hang up a big sign in your corner that says, “I’m writing and will be available after (put in the time).” Or, close the door if you have a room, and tape your sign to the door. If you like a beverage when you write, bring it with you before you start so you won’t stop to get it and interrupt your flow. Finally, block out a set amount of time and honor that commitment to yourself.

Over the years, I’ve done several college workshops on writing. One was on finding time to write while working, and I gave tips such as writing while waiting for appointments, waiting during kids’ activities, etc. I suggested the obvious of getting up earlier or going to bed later. I even suggested actually scheduling writing time. Any of these ideas can become part of the conditioning reflex you create when you create your writing place. The only thing really stopping you is you. If you want to write badly enough, you will.

Happy writing!


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