“Writing is easy. Just put a sheet of paper in the typewriter and start bleeding.” – Thomas Wolfe
Let’s face it – writing is hard.
There are days when the Muse is with you and you’re able to crank out a 500 word blog post in 30 minutes. Those are wonderful days.
And then, there are the dark writing days. Nothing flows. Everything you write sounds stupid and trite. When those days happen to me, I find myself checking email every five minutes. Is it a useful trait? No. But it distracts me from the sucky reality that is my writing day.
I’ve learned that writing is like life. Some days, nothing seems to work and things seem harder than they need to be. Then, there are days when the angels sing and everything flows.
Most days are in the middle. It may take awhile to warm up – but once you do, things chug along pretty nicely.
The key is knowing how to gently guide your writing brain from feeling stuck to thinking “Hey, I’m digging this!” When your writing is fun and flowing, that’s when you can write sizzling copy every time.
Here’s how to do it:
– No excuses! There are some mornings when I wake up and think, “Enhhh. I don’t want to write today.” You’ve probably had similar days. It’s OK to feel that way. The challenge with acting on it is it turns into a habit. You put it off and put it off – and then it becomes a big scary thing in your head (and you run the risk of blowing your deadlines.) Instead of crawling back in bed….
– …Try writing for just five minutes. There’s something about the psychological trick of “only five minutes” that works for me. If I told myself that I was going to write for 30 minutes, I’d find myself staring at a blank page. Even during my most brain-dead days, I can make myself write for five minutes. And after my five minutes is up, something very cool happens. Five minutes turns into fifteen minutes, thirty – even a completed blog post. I lose track of the time and get in the flow. Five minutes was all it took to clear the cobwebs.
– Still not feeling it? Take a break. Did the five minute trick not work for you? Don’t push it. Forcing yourself to be creative is painful, frustrating and scary. This is when writer’s block creeps up and grabs you by your neck. The best thing you can do is walk away and do something – anything – different. I cook. Some people work out. Others take time to play with their children or their pet. The key is to get your mind completely off your writing. When you sit back down, your brain will (hopefully) be refreshed and ready to rock your latest writing assignment.
– Is your brain screaming “no more?” Try again tomorrow. You’ve tried everything and it’s still not working. Your writing sucks, your brain is frozen and you can’t figure out how to fix it. Consider it an “off day” and try again tomorrow. Although it’s tempting to beat yourself up, don’t. We all have bad writing days. Heck, I have them at least once a month. I’ve learned that non-writing days are great times to catch up on administrative tasks. I may not be finishing my latest writing assignment, but I am getting things done. That makes me feel better.
– If at any point you start “feeling it,” start writing and get it out. Sometimes, the act of letting go and saying “I’m taking a break today,” is all your brain needs to loosen up. When you’re feeling jumpy because you need to write – write. Grab your computer. Grab a paper and pen. Grab something. When you take advantage of your creative flow, wonderful things can (and will) happen.
What about you? What’s your favorite way to jump start your brain and writing sizzling copy, every time?