First, let me repeat my writer’s mantra: seat of the pants to the seat of the chair. Next, let me ask a few questions …
When your seat is on the seat and you look around, what do you see? When your seat is on the seat and you don’t look around, what is in your periphery? When your seat is on the seat and you’re ready to write, what is the nature of the imagery surrounding you?
It is said that the unconscious mind takes in whatever the eye passes over, even lightly. If that’s true, why not make the most of it? Why not surround yourself with images conducive to creative output and supportive of your writing life?
Ask yourself, as you place your seat upon the seat: What books are within reach? What writing masters sit upon your shelf? What paintings/posters/sketches hang upon your walls? What messages, notes, or quotes are on display? Whose framed faces look out at you? What aromas, colors, and sounds infuse your senses? What symbolic icons create a sense of sacred space (whatever that may mean to you)?
Do you thrive when surrounded by deliciously haphazard piles of papers and books? Are you most at ease with clean, clear surfaces all about you? Does music aide you as you work? Does silence serve you best?
I offer these questions as gentle nudgings, dear writer.
As for me? My daughter’s dazzling smile and grandson’s smirking face greet me when I sit. Anne Lamott, Natalie Goldberg, Julia Cameron, and Becky Rule are just a few of my chosen companions. Sue Monk Kidd’s insights inspire me. Don Murray’s laminated Latin phrase, “nulla dies sine linea,” (never a day without a line) is propped against an empty binding labeled, “Write Your Own Book.” A sketch of a tree stump that drinks in poetry and spouts stories from its heart-shaped mouth, drawn while I was on retreat with Peter London, is tacked to the side of a filing cabinet nearby. A Sally Allen painting hangs above a simple shelf with artifacts and talismans steeped in meaning. A collage of buried treasures leans against the seafoam colored wall. And, a simple tea light in a little dish waits to be lit when I’m ready.
Here I’ve surrounded myself in imagery that feeds my process (and encourages long visits from my muse). Here I sit. Here I write.
How about you? Is it time, perhaps, to take a look around? Is it time to create a space with conscious intent? Is it time to make some changes to the one you already have?
Is it time to sit? Is it time to write?