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Like so many people, I have found my creativity nose-diving during recent months – constant low-level anxiety and uncertainty, it seems, are not conducive to imaginative thought.  But this cannot go on: if I don’t pull myself together, writing-wise, I am going to miss my own deadline and (much more importantly) lose confidence in my ability to write books.  I’ll look back on my novels as an historical anomaly: look what I was once able to do, but never again.

I have tried several tacks.  I took a whole fortnight off from thinking about writing and told myself that even if I wanted to write, I wasn’t allowed to – you will recognise the reverse psychology, and it didn’t work.  I spoke to some writer friends about it, and they all agreed: these are strange times for “creatives”.  But some of them said they had given up entirely while others said they welcomed the lack of distraction from holidays and waiting out and had been wildly productive – neither of which helped.  I thought that perhaps the familiarity of the location was a problem, or the use of a computer, so I armed myself with a spiffy notebook and pen and went to sit on a park bench, hoping that the muse would come and sit with me (at a safe social distance), but it didn’t work – I watched people playing tennis and feeding ducks and eating picnics, and I daydreamed and wrote not a single word.  I can’t even fall back on my usual creativity-boosting ploy – a day in the University Library with a cheese scone at elevenses – as it’s still shut to almost everyone.

So I have gone back to basics.  I am tired of pandering to the elusive muse, and instead I will beat him/her into submission by simply turning up and staring at him/her.  I have undertaken to write for thirty minutes a day, and I have even mastered the timer on my phone so that I can measure it.  If I want to carry on for longer that’s fine, but I have to do at least thirty minutes.  It’s been three days so far, and I’ve managed it – and am even starting to feel the writing muscles loosen up a little.  I’m a very routine-y person and am good at sticking to commitments, so maybe this tactic will play to my strengths.  Fingers crossed – and now to set the timer for today’s session.