Sometimes when you’ve been working hard on your book, poem, or current creative project, it can feel disastrous when something goes wrong and hard to get back into your creative flow.
In a recent writing group session, one author lost some of his work and stormed out of the room; very dramatic.
It was late in the session, so we all thought he’d lost everything he’d been working on; something that happens to all writers at some point. Turns out it was only a paragraph, and he wasn’t particularly interested in retrieving it.
His reaction reminded me of a technique I learned in a Master Your Mindset workshop that I’ve found helpful in my writing and everyday life. It’s called the Third Space.
It’s a concept from Dr Adam Fraser that talks about how to use the spaces between the things you’re doing, the third space, to show up fully for the next task with no baggage from the previous one.
The Third Space in Action
Let me give you an example. The deadline to get your manuscript to the editor is fast approaching, and it’s not finished yet. You sit down to write but keep getting interrupted by your family who also want your attention.
You’re already feeling stressed about your manuscript and snap at the next person who interrupts you. How do you handle it?
If you’re like most people, you’ll probably try to ignore what happened, slam the door shut, and try to get back to your writing, all the while brooding about the interruption.
This approach only creates tension; you’re distracted and unfocused, and your family member may feel hurt, angry, or upset they were yelled at.
You’re human and can’t change what happened. You can, however, change your response to it. This is where the third space comes into play.
Instead of going straight back to your writing, take a few minutes to review the situation and release how you feel about it. Deep breathing can be very helpful here.
When you’re feeling calmer, perhaps you can talk to your family about why it’s important you’re not interrupted, and when you can give them your full attention, even if it’s only to kiss them goodnight.
Using the third space gives you the time to change your state so you can dissipate the tension and get back into your creative flow.
So when you’re next frustrated your book isn’t turning out the way you expected, use third space to let go of the feelings associated with the previous activity to start fresh and fully present with the next one.
Doing this helps me to find more clarity and peace, which opens me up to ideas. It also changes the way the surrounding people respond to me. Try it for yourself and let me know how you go in the comments below.
Cheers to your writing success!