Virginia Woolf talks about how women need a room of their own to write in. And when my kids were little, that was definitely an important part of being a successful writer. But the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized how important it is to create mental space for being a writer. There are some different parts of creating that mental space.
First is giving yourself permission to call yourself a writer, to do writerly things, to say no to things that interrupt your writing time, to spend money on things that you need to help you get to your writing.
Second is learning how to divide your brain so that the editor part of your brain that says “this isn’t good enough” isn’t constantly interrupting the creative, childlike, excited part of your brain that says, “wouldn’t it be cool if this happened?”
Third is learning how to talk back to older, younger parts of yourself dealing with art scars, those moments in the past when someone you trusted told you you weren’t good enough. Every creative person I work with has a problem like this. A belief that they don’t have good enough grammar, or that because they didn’t go to art school and learn anatomy “correctly,” their art will always be lesser. This is simply not true. And you have to create a safe space in your brain where those voices don’t get in or else you’re not going to be able to create.
First create a physical space for your writing. That’s the easy part. That can happen in a few days’ time. But it’s the work of a lifetime to create the internal psychological, emotional, creative space for you to tell yourself daily that you deserve to create, that it’s enough for you to want to create, that your work is good enough as it is, that your work deserves equal space in the world with all the other art you admire.