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  • Writer's picturePhil

Poor Associations and Why can't I [fill in the blank] ?

According to Stephen King's book On Writing, he wrote his first two published books, Carrie and Salem's Lot, in a small laundry room, balancing a desktop and a typewriter on his lap. It wasn't fancy, but it was HIS writing space. It worked for him, partly because the space lacked distractions and probably most because it was the place he associated with writing, I'm sure, to the point of habit.

I wrote a fair amount of my short stories and other longer would-be novels (since shelved) at my large desk in my den. But then, over the last six or so months, I began to notice an actual struggle to get in there, sit down, and write. It was an odd situation that I had not experienced before. Then, one morning, I remembered Stephen King and saw the image of him writing in his laundry room, balancing a desktop and typewriter. I spent some time on some introspection. Then, an idea bulb turned on above my head. A little over six months ago, I began working from home a couple of days a week. So now that desk of mine was a work desk, a household finances desk, and a distracting games desk. It was no longer a place of creativity. I associated the stress and humdrumness of my job at that desk. I associated the stress and worry about bills at that desk. And even the entertainment of a favorite video game was simply mindless. I had managed to kill creativity, gut it, stuff it, and mount it on the wall.

All is not lost. I once again pictured Mr King and a brighter light bulb turned on. I needed a simple place to write—no trappings or fancy desks. The more simple, the better, dare I say, Spartan’esque. And ONLY writing would be done there. A quick rearrangement of my daughter’s old bedroom and a very simple table, just large enough for my laptop, external keyboard , notebook, and a coaster for the day's beverage. Simple and uncluttered. Within a few days, I was back at it. Creativity resurrected, and the desire to get writing restored.

So, in closing, be careful of the bad associations you create in every part of your life. Sometimes they are obvious, you see them, and change them quickly, and sometimes it takes six months for the more dense people 😬 to finally get the slap upside the head and make the necessary changes.


Best Wishes to All !


--Phil



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