I'm not anti-elephant. In fact, I love them.
But whenever I think about sitting down to write my novel I feel a giant weight plop onto that already aching area at the back of my neck. This weight is HUGE!!! It presses down on my shoulders and pushes my whole body into the ground until I feel like I am stuck in mud. I try to shake it off, do a few neck rolls, take a deep breath or two, but once that enormous mass of guilt has settled its rump on my back it just won't budge.
So, I have a new policy when it comes to elephants.
They are no longer invited into my writing space. The lavender and blue room in the right hand corner of my little house is officially off-limits to the grumpy old elephant that has been following me around for years.
There's simply not enough room for me, my characters and a great big lump of "You shouldn't be wasting your time in here talking to people in your head when there are REALLY IMPORTANT JOBS to do!" Nope. That little writing room of mine is just too small for anyone but my novel and the writing candle I recently bought that signals the beginning and end of my writing sessions.
My writing room is gorgeous - it's my play room - filled with all the creative touch stones I learned to collect when I was teaching the Artist's Way. There is not one inch of that room that says "You shouldn't be in here - you should be doing...blah blah blah". My writing room is comfy, calm and safe for me to open up my lap top and just sink into the world that lives in my head every single waking hour.
Now that I've got used to closing the door I don't feel bad about leaving my elephant outside. It's always waiting for me. Silently, patiently waiting to remind me of all the things I have yet to do before I can even think about writing again.
Funny thing is, I don't worry about when I'm going to get the chance to write again. I have given myself the luxury of a writing schedule - something I have never been able to stick to before. I don't know why this time is different. But it is.
When my writing time arrives, which is six days a week, and twice on Tuesdays (!!) I stop whatever I am doing, head down the hall to my study, shut my door, light my candle and take a deep breath. The silence is wonderful. No impatient nudging at my shoulders, no bumping heads against my door, no annoyed stomping of feet - my elephant has learned to give it up - to let me have this sacred writing time all to myself,
Today is Friday, the only day on my weekly schedule that does NOT include a writing session.
I want to write today, but I don't know if I will. I don't know, yet, if my elephant will revolt if I don't follow my schedule, and if it does can I blame it? After a week of telling it to behave, to wait outside, to stop bugging me, this beast has stepped aside for 2-3 hours a day because it knows it will have plenty of time to chase me around my life as soon as my writing session is over. Perhaps I have to hold up my end of this bargain and stick to the schedule. Perhaps not.
I'll let you know tomorrow.