My husband has it down. He lights a candle or two, gives a relaxing massage, and turns up the heat from the standard bone-chilling, money-saving 60 degrees, and there you go: in the mood.
We writers could learn a lot from him. Take my recent attempt at putting a writing plan into action. I rung in 2009 with a new planner in which I'd scheduled the first two weeks by the hour, and with 13 New Year's resolutions, the likes of which included writing a novel and increasing my work outs to seven days per week.
All I had to do was follow the schedule to be superfit and complete phase one of Mission: Novel Publication. Simple enough.
Simple, but not easy. That planner with its blaring list of to-do's, and hour after hour of scheduled time, was so serious and regimented. Definitely not candles. So not a massage. Not putting me in the mood to work out or write.
And it showed: I hit a record workout low and didn't exercise ONCE during those two weeks. And that novel? I didn't even get as far as page one.
I got frustrated. I got angry. I took mental jabs at myself. Just get up and go to the gym. Don't be so lazy. All you have to write is one page per day, it's not that hard.
Now, if my husband approached me with insults and drill sargent commands, the last place he'd be was at the top of my priority list. So why had I thought it would work? I closed the planner. Relaxed. And thought about what it was I wanted to do.
The answer? Work on a story-in-progress I'd been thinking about, and do a workout dance tape at home. Funny what giving yourself a little space to relax will do.