I don’t always come to the desk ready to work. There are some days I just don’t feel like a writer. I arrive at my writing space feeling sterile and lacking the desire to write. I sit before a blank screen or stare at the last thing I wrote and can’t figure out how I did it. On these days, I need a little incentive to pull myself out of that rut.
The singer Billy Joel once talked about how he could motivate himself to write on days he didn’t feel like writing – he would dress up in a nice suit, go to an outdoor café, order a glass of wine, sit with a notebook and trick himself into the mindset of a writer. The concept is to institute some small change that stimulates the brain towards its objective. By making a change in my environment, my clothing, or by altering my routine, I can open a door to put myself into the mental space to write. I don’t go as far as dressing up in a suit or an evening gown – it can be something as simple as putting on my creamy cashmere scarf, noticing how it feels against my skin or the way it looks draped over my shoulder; it may be moving into a different room of the house, or popping out to a coffee shop. It’s a theatrical strategy that helps pull me out of a blank state; it triggers that smouldering ember to bring me back to a writing state of mind.