Really, that’s as eloquent as I can be with it, the most descriptive, vivid word that I can come up with: hard.
Both organizing your thoughts and piecing your words together take a mental toll on your brain, and that’s not including the soul-sucking, emotional abuse that writing can leave you with after composing a more personal piece.
It used to be that I could only write creatively (think poems, as my brooding, Sylvia Plath-idolizing high school self often did) when I was in a melancholy place. Something about being in a more somber headspace allowed my thoughts and feelings to flow more easily. Looking back metacognitively, I think I was more reflective when I wasn’t having the best of days; when the sun was shining and emotions were running high, I was swept up in my feelings of happiness and would rather enjoy them than write about them.
Which isn’t to say that I wrote to escape sadness, though I certainly believe that transcribing your thoughts onto a page can help you mull them over a bit better, a bit more efficiently, as opposed to letting them stew about in your brain, emotionally-charged and in a state of alphabet soup.
Writing requires a mental place to write, as well as a physical. To be honest, I’m not the greatest at sitting down to write, not at home anyway. For me, there are too many temptations, to many ways in which I can get distracted. Which is why I often grab my laptop or a notebook and head to the park or the local coffee shop (in this case, there is a Starbucks across the street, which means I am also on an IV of caffeine while I write, which helps somewhat). Being in a physical other space helps me to focus and get things done.
There’s something about the white noise of background music and chatter, the low hum of coffee beans grinding, that motivates me to just write. There’s nothing on my “desk” except a cup of coffee. No toys to play with, no other “tasks” in the other room that are tempting me to procrastinate.
How I write has changed over the years, as has what I write, and my reasons for writing, just as I myself have changed in my thought processes and routines. I’m sure I won’t hole up in coffee shops forever to write (though who knows). Maybe a cottage by a lake is in my authorial future…
What does your writing space look like, physically and mentally?