Do we need ideal conditions to produce our best writing?

Wildflowers flourish all along BC’s highways. I don’t think you can drive for half a mile without seeing washes of colour paralleling the pavement. On my recent trip, while stopped in a construction zone, we admired blue Chicory (Cichorium intybus) mingled with cheery clumps of yellow Dune Tansy (Tanacetum bipinnatum). In this most unlikely location they were nodding happily amid the parched roadside gravel and rocks.

(A click will significantly enlarge photos)

They reminded me of a fridge magnet I received years ago from a friend, that says, “Bloom where you are planted,” echoing the words of an old Sunday School song:

Bloom, bloom, bloom where you’re planted.
You will find your way.
Bloom, bloom, bloom where you’re planted.
You will have your day.

As writers I think it’s natural to crave ideal conditions for our writing. We ogle with envy the beautiful dens and their floor-to-ceiling bookcases and polished mahogany desks, believing they must provide the perfect writing environment. We postpone our efforts, believing we’ll have more time to write that novel after the children are grown and away at school, or when we retire from our nine-to-five job.  We rationalize that we need to be free of distractions, demands or other commitments before joining in a 1k1hr word sprint to start a new chapter or finish a scene.

But give us ideal conditions and I’ll betcha some of us would still be undisciplined enough to offer other excuses for procrastinating. If writing is a priority for us, we have to find a way to write, despite the difficulties.

Like the tenacious Tansy and Chicory plants, our success doesn’t depend on ideal conditions so much as making the best use of what we have. We need to heap determination atop our desire, and make the effort to bloom wherever we are planted, regardless of the circumstances.

I know life intervenes sometimes, but if you’re serious about your writing goals, what prevents you from pursuing them?

~

And God is able to bless you abundantly,
so that in all things at all times,
having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

II Corinthians 9:8 NIV

.

He who observes the wind
[and waits for all conditions to be favorable]

will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 AMP

.

 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13 NKJV

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~  ~  ~

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12 thoughts on “Do we need ideal conditions to produce our best writing?

  1. I think you’re absolutely right. If we are serious and determined, we do not need ideal conditions and nothing should prevent us from achieving our writing goals. That said, I picked up my tablet and decided to work from an office in Manhattan for a day last week. I sat in a small office with no distractions — no laundry, no dishes, no hungry kids — and I worked for about five hours straight on my WIP with a lunch break. I hadn’t done that in ages! So, truth be told, while I totally agree that we need to carve out writing time amid our chaotic lives, ideal conditions does make it a whole lot easier sometimes. :) Great post!

  2. torimcrae says:

    Ideal conditions. Something I long for too often and wait for occasionally, though not to the extent of desiring the perfect room, furnishings, etc. My ideal is more similar to the vacation you took last week. A week in the forest but with no people around, no kids or animals to care for, no meals to cook or wash up after. Just time to write and read. But knowing those times are few and far between I peck away at it little by little. My biggest problem is on the header of my blog….. eclectic. I have way too many things I enjoy and want to pursue and since they are also creative endeavors they don’t necessarily want to take a back seat to writing. Sigh-h-h.

  3. torimcrae says:

    Oh. I forgot to say… The verse from Philippians came to me as I was reading the body of your post. Liked the other verses too.

  4. Hi Careann (beautiful name by the way), there is a lot of truth here. We all tell ourselves that when we have x. then will be the time to write.. When we have that spare room sorted as an office or a better kitchen table or whatever x is. I think the only real cure for procrastination is writing. Just get on with it… Great Post.

  5. verasilver says:

    I think state of mind actually affects writing more than location. That said, I do despise cafes that constantly pump out annoying music..

    I enjoyed your post. Thank you!

    Vera

  6. Maureen says:

    This is a great post, Careann, thank you for the reminder. I love the mind picture of a wildflower, beside the road, quietly doing its thing, happily blooming in the sunshine and the rain, oblivious to the bustle and motion racing by it on the road. Perfect boost for my writing today, and tomorrow… Thanks.

  7. Deb Marshall says:

    Powerful post. And you are right. Even now I am finding myself slipping down that path…after many years I am now working full-time and really struggling with the amount of time for writing I no longer have. BUT, yeah–I used to be able to make use of early morning, late night, bits of minutes here and there, so should be able to do it now, right. This is a keeper post to read and re-read when I decide I don’t like the place I’m left to bloom! Thank you.

  8. joylene says:

    Imagine working at home in a highrise and right across the street is a construction site with a full-time jack hammer? It feels like that sometimes on long weekends when the lake is full of boats, water skiers, children screaming. It’s amazing how once I get down to work their noises cease. I love when I’m that focused. Sadly, it’s not something I can control.

  9. Great post. The verse you quoted in Ecclesiastes, hits the nail on the head :)

  10. Jenn Hubbard says:

    So true. I use the same philosophy about my daily walks and hikes: if I only went when the weather was perfect, I’d only walk about six days a year.
    Even when stuff keeps me from meeting my daily writing goal, even when I find myself at the end of the day too tired or time-crunched to finish what I’d hoped, I tell myself, “I’ll just write now for 15 minutes, just to keep from losing touch with this project.” Sometimes it is just 15 minutes, or 10; sometimes I end up writing longer. But it keeps me moving forward, and keeps me from requiring perfection in order to write.

  11. I have what I view as an ideal writing environment. Yet, interruptions and distractions still try to sidetrack me. There’s no substitute for sitting down and actually writing.

  12. Carol says:

    Great feedback today! Thanks, everyone, for sharing your thoughts! Vera’s comment, “State of mind actually affects writing more than location” touches a nerve for me. But ‘tryingtowriteit’ nailed it, too, with her, “The only real cure for procrastination is writing. Just get on with it.”

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