I literally write something everyday. Some of it doesn’t take a lot of thought: like journaling, writing letters or inking my plans for the week into my planner. Then there’s the writing that takes a lot out of me. Even though these assignments are my passion and calling in life they pull a lot of creative energy from and I need to focus to produce something of quality.
Lately I’ve been approached by people who don’t profess themselves to be ” writers” and they ask stuff like…
“How do you just come up with ideas like that?”
“How do you keep from getting distracted?”
“How do you do it?!”
Before I get to any kind of work I always set a certain mood to get my creative juices going. I keep these methods going and don’t change simply because it works for me.
TURN OFF THE TV
I used to let the TV play while I worked just to have some background noise. I’m one of those people that doesn’t do my best work in complete silence. Completely harmless because I wasn’t actually trying to watch it while I worked, right? Wrong! I found myself listening to Judge Mathis and his ongoing crack head jokes to the litigants on his show. If there was some outrageous case I’d think “OMG these people are crazy, I have to see what they look like.” Next thing I know I’m on the couch and my laptop has fallen asleep.
What I do instead is turn on music. Ambient music to be exact. Music with lyrics is just as distracting as the TV for me. Ambient music is lyric free and there are playlists on YouTube and Pandora for studying, relaxation or whatever you need.
CLEAR THE CLUTTER
Generally speaking my home is pretty organized. I know where everything is and can grab things at a moment’s notice. My desk though…not so much. It’s always littered with stuff from whatever I was working on the day before. Before I get to work I take time to tidy the space and jot down any leftover tasks that need to be taken care of. There’s a direct correlation between clutter in a home and clutter in the mind.
THE PERFECT AROMA
I just like for my home to smell good at all times. This doesn’t contribute to my creativity directly but it’s just a part of a wonderful atmosphere.
SHOWER & GET DRESSED
Yes, even though I’m working from home and no one is going to see me. When I’m wearing my night clothes I feel to relaxed, because duh that’s the point of them. So when I really have deadlines to meet I take a shower to wake me all the way up and put on real clothes to get me out of that lazy fog.
READ FROM THE DAY BEFORE
This is especially for if I’m working on a book. I take some time to read over the last things that I wrote/edited to get my mind back in the right place. If necessary I need to be mindful to continue writing in the same mood as before. If I’m moving on to another scene then I need to make sure the transition is smooth. I also tend to leave notes on my computer whenever there’s something in particular that I need to focus on the next day so I make sure to address those.
That’s do not disturb. I put my phone on silent and keep it out of my sight so that I’m not tempted to check it if it lights up for any reason. It’s incredibly easy to lose 20 minutes doing basically nothing on my phone so I avoid the temptation. I let my BF and anyone else who I think might try to reach me know so they don’t
get annoyed worry when I take long to respond. I check my phone when I step away from the computer to use the restroom or cook so that I’m not specifically taking time away from working.
As you see, there’s nothing genius about what I do to keep myself in the zone. The main thing is to just START writing something and be consistent It doesn’t have to be your best work because you’ll get better as time goes on. Create habits that make you effective. You got this!
Can I help you improve your writing process? Let me know in the comments or email me.
Until next time…