In the zone

Self Portrait,

I have a friend in London who is a visual artist, Patricia Wynn Davies, I met Patricia at London’s Independent Newspaper where we both worked as journalists. I moved into her house as a lodger, and from that vantage point witnessed her transformation from well-known London journalist to visual artist.

It’s amazing how the universe provides us with people to help with our own transition. I did not know then I was heading towards visual art, and knowing Patricia has been an incredible blessing along my own path.

We spoke on the phone yesterday about the practice of writing fiction and doing art, and she said something both obvious and transformational.

All artists have to figure out how to balance work for money with doing their art. Patricia talked about how important it was to have a consistent amount of time in the aura of the art. I wish I could remember her exact words. When you spend days or even weeks solely focused on fiction or completely absorbed by painting, it creates an energy around you, an aura, a sort of creative snowball effect, that gives you more energy and greater depth to do great things, greater than you could do simply by dipping in and out of the work.

I know this is obvious, but it got me to thinking. If you really knew that to write a novel you would need at least two days a week that were uninterrupted, how would you reschedule your monied work? If you knew that having six hours would create a greater piece of literature than scheduling two hours of writing, how would you change your weekly writing schedule? I know for the writing of my first novel Earth, there is absolutely no way I could’ve reached the quality that my agent was asking for if I didn’t commit at least three full interrupted days a week to the process. Often, to be honest, it was much more than that.

I know for some people who have kids or full-time jobs, this may seem just too much to take on. But, I think you can still figure it out within a busy schedule. Should I write Tuesday night for an hour? Or should I pay my bills (or do the laundry, or make a big batch of food that I can freeze) for that hour and give myself a total of three hours to write Wednesday night? Do you see what I’m getting at? Schedule as large a chunk of time as you can manage for the writing, and watch it flow. Watch it glow!

Think about how to reschedule your writing for the month or the week or the day, where you have larger chunks of time. Even if you schedule a six hour writing period, and then spend two hours staring out the window, you are still engaging the flow and energy of the poetry of your soul in a deeper way than if you just spent an hour every day over a six-day period.

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