The writing process requires mind-space, comfort of body, a happy spirit and calm motivation. Well, that’s the theory.
The following is what has worked for me and that I share with my clients and, even though I do have a magic wand, your way is the one that will work for you.
Ritual is a good habit to instigate. It sets the scene: literally and metaphorically while, at the same time, alerting the muse. Maybe lighting a candle, preparing a glass of iced water or stronger, cartwheels around the garden or completing your asanas is the way.
Whatever works is good but it is not set in stone. I know writers who are unable to commit a word without their pre-work routine but it is important to not allow the ritual to rule you. You are in charge of you and it might be that just the intention is all you need and the words will tumble free-flow from your mind.
A cluttered mind is not conducive to word weaving so the first thing is to clear-out extraneous thoughts. These can present themselves as doubts, niggles, the to-do list and a variety of other issues that seem to do their utmost to prevent that bestseller being birthed. Procrastination is the way of many and sometimes (I think) writers' block is given as an excuse.
Morning pages*, doodles, affirmations, gratitude and meditation all help with the clearing. An empty head is not the goal but one that allows words to sliver onto the page or screen is. Doing something repetitive but not too challenging can fire up the muse and make her burst forth with glee.
Comfort is paramount. If you enter the mind-state of flow, time disappears and before you know it hours have passed. You only ‘come back’ because your neck has locked or you can no longer feel your feet. Or, your bladder is about to explode.
Stretching, massage and swimming are perfect remedies. But, better still is to ensure posture and position are perfect before beginning. The forearm muscles are often neglected and the relief gained from stretching them out or having a good rub is huge. Please try this yourself by applying hand-cream to your hands and continue up to your elbows. Really work your thumbs into those muscles and enjoy the relief as the tingles flutter up to the back of your neck.
Feeling free to create words of knowledge or entertainment is our spirit’s natural state. We do, however, tend to do all we can to hinder that but when we are in a congruent state of mind, body and spirit our emotions balance.
At the end of writing time it is important to be happy whether the target has been met or not. It is about enjoying the journey. Sometimes no words are written but the thought process is in place or the outline plotted. If you get a grump-on or feel cross with yourself, the next time you want to write your muse might not even bother to appear.
Displacement activities are the author’s best friend. All those things that must be done before writing happens can easily become excuses. This can be helped by setting specific times for writing and honouring it.
Success comes from creation rather than reaction. Having a notepad to scribble the disruptive thoughts onto really helps – this could be the back of the pad kept for creative ideas. If easier you can record your thoughts on your phone. What's that? You don't like the sound of your own voice - well, you don't need to. Once noted action is not required until the time is yours. Trying to ignore irritations just makes them more persistent but when acknowledged they lose power. I have learnt that emails, Facebook, Twitter, phone and every other digital distraction can and do wait. They can be time wasters and creativity drainers. Your words matter and your book deserves the time and care as much as you, the author.
Written by Herself
I write as the muse takes me and here is a blend of blog posts and articles.