My Writing Journey: 101 Lessons I Learnt From My Mistakes (#4 Mistake)

26/02/2015 8:16 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST

There's no perfect writing environment!

When I was fairly new to writing, I thought most writers sat in front of their desks, pen in hand, their notebook open in front of them, fire burning in the hearth, a cup of tea right by their side, and words just started flowing. My ideal workplace had to be like Bilbo Baggins's hobbit hole: warm, cosy, comfortable. I was in London at the time and the cold weather helped fuel my fantasies. I had recently bought a laptop and though not the type to write longhand, I invested money in buying new stationary before I sat down to write my first novel, The Recession Groom.

I'd done everything to create a perfect environment, but the words just wouldn't flow. And I needed only to look at my life to understand why. I was working as a management lecturer and my work entailed long hours of standing and lecturing in front of the students. I'd then come home and spend hours working on power-point presentations and case studies. Add to that groceries, cleaning and cooking and one compact bedsit (which looked nothing like a hobbit hole!). By the time I sat down to write, I felt so wrung out and exhausted, nothing came to my mind. Clearly, this wasn't anything close to my dream. And yet, there were many like me who had managed to write novels whilst working full-time jobs.

E. L. James, author of Fifty Shades of Grey, wrote on her Blackberry while travelling to work. American novelist John Grisham was a practicing lawyer when he started writing his first novel, A Time to Kill. He'd get up early in the morning to write and then work during courtroom recesses. I knew my mistake. I was so focused on getting the environment right, I forgot to make the most of what I had. Once I'd learnt my lesson, there was no looking back. I wrote during my lunch break, tea sessions and staff meetings, and wrote when my students worked out case studies. I wrote while correcting their assignments and didn't stop when I took the bus back home. And while I still dream about that perfect writing space, I do not limit myself for the lack of it. These days, I could be sitting in a noisy café, watching a movie or reading a book; as soon as I have an idea, I write it.

Quick Tips:

1. You could be just a step away from your fantasy writing world, but until you get there, make the most of what you have.

2. The rents were always rising, vegetables were always getting costlier and it was always either too hot or too cold. Don't wait for the perfect writing environment to get going. If you have an idea, now is the time to write it.

3. If my blog post helps you write something today, I'd love to hear about it.

Next blog: #5 Mistake: A few words is soon a paragraph, next a page, and a novel before you know it!

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