Writers Block #6: Space and Time

Space and time, two things it seems we can never get enough, especially when it comes to our creative endeavors. As I've poured over all the how to books and articles on writing (comics or otherwise), I haven't found a lot about setting a schedule or creating a space, which is strange since, in my opinion, it's as big a part of the process as all of the technical stuff. So let's take a quick look at making yourself a writing schedule and creating a space to write in. 

The one thing I'm sure you've read over and over again is that you need to write everyday. This is true, but it can be hard to carve out space if writing everyday isn't your job. So step one is to look at your schedule and figure out where your free time is. Yes, this does mean that you'll have to sacrifice certain things like TV, video games, going out with friends etc., but it also means you'll be able to make serious progress on your projects. 

A key question to ask yourself is, "Am I a morning person or a night person?" I've found that, even though I have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, I tend to have more creative juice early in the day, than at night. Some people don't really wake up until later in the day. So find the time of day that you're typically the most active and plan out some writing time. 

The amount of time also doesn't have to be that long. Ed Brubaker, who now is doing a bit of TV work at HBO, still finds time to write for about one or two hours each morning before heading into the office. Michael Chabon, writer of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and Telegraph Avenue writes from 10 to 3, Sunday to Thursday. Now of course those are two incredible writers who have been at it for a long time, but it just goes to show, you don't need to lock yourself away for three months at a time to come up with a good script. 

Speaking of locking yourself away, take a minute to think about where you do most of your writing. Is it on the couch (like me), in an office, at a coffee shop? What's the mood of the space? Is it loud and busy, isolated, sunny, clean? It's probably not a bad idea to give your full attention to what your writing, but the mood of the space you're in can have a large effect too. Brian K. Vaughan has a little shack with no internet he goes to for a few hours a day to write, because he says he knows he'd never be able to get anything done if he was at home with WiFi. Kieron Gillen basically lives and breathes music, and usually has a playlist going on repeat while he works. I tend to bounce back and forth between a pretty quite space, and some music when I feel like I need a little energy. I also like to get up and walk around when I'm thinking, which wouldn't work that well in a public space. 

So think a little bit about what you do and don't need when making your space. Perhaps you work better when people are around so a coffee shop or a library might be a good place. Maybe you have a spare room or a shed that might make a good office with a little fixing up. With the right headphones, even the bus or the train to and from work could be a mobile office where you can do a little work each day. The key is to find a place where you feel comfortable (but not too comfy you don't do any work), you feel energized/motivated, and you can work with minimal interruption. Some sunlight/bright colors never hurt, neither does a (mostly) clean work space. 

Lastly before I end, make some time to be a person as well. Writing is work, but all work and no play make Homer something something,  so while planning some work time, plan some time to poke your head out into the world and get some air. If you're grinding non-stop, you run the risk of burning out, which means you'll spend even less time writing. Even star athletes have off days where they don't work out, so take some time to read for pleasure, watch your favorite show/movie, or maybe just  go for a walk. And here's the trick, even when your not consciously thinking of whatever you're working on, subconsciously your brain is still thinking about it, so when you might even find the answer to something that was stumping you. That's all for now, so take some time to carve out a schedule and a work space, and make comics!