I'm a bit confused because I thought it was Susannah who challenged me to a Do and Don't meme, but I can't find it now on her site - although it was a pleasure looking through her old posts as always. She has a ... delicious... blog. It's the best word I can find for it. I wish it were a book. I'd just flick through it again and again. Anyway, apologies to whoever did challenge me, and also thanks because I did enjoy doing this. Here are my writing Do's and Don't's:
I do write when I feel there are people who want to listen to what I have to say.
I don’t write when I feel people are waiting to pounce on me and tell me I don’t make sense.
I do write when I understand that the above fear is coming from me, and I really don’t care what other people think if I’m writing what I want to write.
I don’t write when I start worrying what my mother in law will think.
I do write when I’m listening to certain types of music.
I don’t write when there’s too much noise coming from outside.
I do write the more I write.
I don’t write when I get out of the habit – frighteningly easy to do.
I do write when I can sit still in public places. Libraries are good for me.
I don’t write when I’m on the move and worrying about tickets etc.
I do write when I’ve had some kind of physical exercise. Fast walking is best.
I don’t write when I’ve done nothing but sit all day and am feeling blurgh.
I do write when I’m writing something I’d like to read myself.
I don’t write when I can’t think myself into a character.
I do write when I have time to meditate.
I don’t write when my mind is rushing around with lists of things-to-do.
I do write when I have space to potter before I get down to it.
I don’t write when I only have half an hour to get on with it.
I do write when I’m happy.
I don’t write when I’m angry.
I do write if I have chocolate to nibble on.
I don’t write when I’ve gobbled too much chocolate.
I do write when I have a view to stare out at.
I don’t write when I’m sitting too close to a wall.
I do write after I’ve been reading authors who inspire me. Current favourites are Lydia Davis and Marilyn Hacker.
I don’t write when I don’t have a good book on the go.
I do write after I fill myself with interesting facts about things that inspire me. Anything to do with public spaces and gardens at the moment.
I don’t write when I slip into hermit-mode and I’ve forgotten to go out and talk to people or look at things.
I do write after I’ve been to see live bands – or even watch their videos.
I don’t write after an evening slobbing on the sofa.
I do write after I’ve been to see an inspiring exhibition.
I don’t write after a day trailing my daughter round her shops.
I do write after I’ve been teaching.
I don’t write after I’ve read too many student essays.
I do write after I’ve been looking at blogs like Susannah's or BB’s
I don’t write after I’ve been stuck too long on the internet, losing yet another game of Facebook scramble.
I do write when I can slot random things together and make a whole.
I don’t write when I get too clever and distance myself from the centre of the piece I’m working on.
I do write after I’ve spent some time with creative friends
I don’t write after I feel I’ve wasted too much time doing things I don’t want to do.
I do write after some time taking photographs and thinking about framing things.
I don’t write when I get too much of other people’s visions and can’t catch sight of mine any more.
I do write when I have someone I can talk to safely about what I’m writing about.
I don’t write when I’ve spent too long keeping my work close to my chest.
I do write when I let myself go and have fun.
I don’t write when I’m too self-conscious.
I do write after going to poetry readings.
I don’t write when I’m nervous about having to do a reading myself.
I do write after a nice glass of wine.
I don’t write after a nice bottle of wine.
I do write after I can dance round my writing studio before sitting down.
I don’t write after I can’t remember why anyone would ever want to dance.
I was surprised how much fun it was to write these, but also how many of the 'Don't's' (phew, what a lot of apostrophes, is that right? Any grammar geeks around?) I slip into far too often. It's almost as if I'm sabotaging myself sometimes. So now I'm off to an exhibition and a fast walk, nibbling chocolate as I listen to music on my ipod. If anyone else wants to make a list of things that make them write - or not - I'd love to see it.