Sometimes you’re just on fire when writing – the ideas are flowing and your hands can barely keep up with your thoughts. Those are the writing moments you hope for, but for most writers this doesn’t reflect the everyday experience. For the professional (or aspiring) writer, getting into a habit of writing can feel like a grind. So much emphasis is put on listening to the muse that you may spend the majority of time waiting for inspiration to strike.
While it’s true that you can’t force a brilliant idea, you can develop writing habits that encourage the muse to speak up. Here are six relatively painless ways you can mix up your regular writing to keep the momentum rolling – and encourage inspiration even when it doesn’t come naturally.
1) Put on your writing cap
Whether you’re going into an office, working from home or writing on the go, it’s important to set aside time to be a writer. It’s too easy to get distracted if you try to keep up with your emails, listen to a podcast or get your chores done on what is meant to be a writing day. So set aside time and space to encourage that writing mindset.
2) Set a meeting with yourself
When you make an appointment with someone else you feel beholden to it as you don’t want to break your word. It’s far easier to break plans that you set for yourself, especially since they are often just pencilled in in your own mind. If you are serious about writing you need to take your own time seriously. Block out your writing times in your daily planner and make those meetings as non-negotiable as any other appointment.
3) Prepare your battle station
Nothing kills your flow like having your pen run out of ink, your pencil nib break or your laptop die. Make sure your writing station is always well stocked with your preferred writing implements, mediums and reference materials (plus snacks and water!) so no minor issues will arise and create major stumbling blocks.
4) Track your productivity
A big part of creating an effective habit is learning what you’ve done in the past that makes it work. Try to keep notes about your writing days to see what commonalities exist between really productive – or likewise, very unproductive – days. Do you always have a burst of inspiration on the days you take a walk in nature? Is a caffeinated drink actually killing your buzz? Learn from what works and what doesn’t and let your ritual evolve into the best one for you.
5) Ignore your inner critic
These are rules for developing effective writing habits – not editing ones. The editing process comes later, once you’ve tapped into that muse and let it all flow out. So ignore that voice inside your head that questions each and every word choice so that you can focus on the big picture, not the details. By waiting to hash out the finer points you will make sure that a small change won’t derail your continuity and stamina.
6) Schedule your breaks
As with any activity, it’s important to set aside time to rest and recharge. This can be especially important if you are writing on a computer or tablet screen. Give your eyes and body a chance to relax every now and then. You’ll be surprised by how this helps to keep your mind and creativity fresh, too!
What habits are key to making you an effective writer?
When creating our Paperblanks line, we were driven by a desire to keep the beauty of books alive. By drawing inspiration from great artists and craftspeople, our aim is to help you feel inspired and creative every day and to help you create your own personal pieces of art. For more about Paperblanks and our journals, visit our website at paperblanks.com.