Most of us know that whatever we do, usually, the more we practise something, the more accomplished we can become. Yet in every endeavour, there are short-cuts, insights, simple tips that are often not seen as "obvious", useful or valid, in the early stages of our "training."
This tip is indeed perhaps one of those not so obvious suggestions. To get better at writing, give yourself the gift of a routine. A regular time and place through which to develop your writing "personality."
How To Aim For A Flexible Routine
Writing development especially, lends itself well to developing a certain routine. Though I suggest:
- Don't be too strict with yourself, insisting that your mind must deliver, all that you seek, every time, for every writing session. Or ...
- Don't be a rock. Better: imagine yourself as a swaying branch instead, or like a leaf blown on the wind. My key point: stay flexible, edgy, a little frosty. Resist the idea that once you have settled on your routine, you must never break its pattern or sequence.
Why: while routines can help build a writing framework, you live in a dynamic world. Fixed routines are not cast in stone.
Indeed, variation, contrast, happenstance, are sometimes helpful and even essential to your creative process.
What happens around you can help influence, flavour, and improve the thoughts and ideas that form in your mind, ready to use for your next writing task, goal, or project.
What I'm suggesting here is that while you're developing your writing style and preferred style of working:
- Do find a way to put aside a set number of hours every day to devote to your writing. You decide when.
- Do you like peace and quiet or some background noise for your preferred writing environment? If you're not sure, try both. Some folks prefer to lock themselves away from other people. Others prefer the noise and hub of people-generated chatter. Some authors love the sound of coffee machines constantly at work.
- If you already have a full-time job, either in the home or outside, find at least 1 hour per day, preferably 2 hours.
- Do whatever works for you to make your writing time an enjoyable, beneficial, and perhaps a profitable activity, to encourage you to continue. Yes, you're building a routine, though the inbuilt, personal satisfaction of playing with and moulding thoughts, ideas, words, and more, is your primary reward, for now.
How To Be Mindful Of What Your Writing Routine Returns
With a little practice, you can soon find that you can make your writing time productive.
Setting up a regular time for writing can subconsciously program your brain to prepare for what you want to do. So, great ideas and writing results can flow from your mind to screen or paper more naturally and with less effort.
Are You An Early Bird Or Night Owl?
Decide which part of the day (or night) works for you best. Some people are natural "early risers", while others feel more relaxed or "come alive" only when the sun has set.
Whatever your preference, occasionally, you can also benefit by deliberately spending some time writing during those times you least prefer.
When we occasionally intentionally place ourselves outside of our comfort zone, yes, we're putting ourselves on edge.
However, we also train our brain to simply get used to producing our written goal whatever the time of day or night, rather than letting ourselves become tied by the comforts, whims, and caprices of our psyche.
Why Saying Yes When Part Of You Wants To Say No Brings Rewards
You'll need to apply some self-discipline to get started. However, soon you can "rest in the familiar", and therefore, have fun.
You can find that what previously might have made you frown as you felt the pressure to produce, in time delivers little, if any, pressure, stress, or tension.
If you feel the flinch, imagine looking at yourself from a short distance away, ignore the sensation, move through. You can liken your experience to that of a canoeist or kayaker adventurer: as you progress, some water is calm, other parts are choppy. The best remedy: eyes front, keep paddling forward, watch your course.
Sooner or later you'll enter "creative waters". When you find yourself in that space, you're swimming in your own imaginative, inspired flow. You may find that your words and thoughts and ideas cascade like a gushing waterfall in spring.
Say "Yes". Then keep on keeping on.
Once you have sufficiently scratched your writing itch, no need to wait for perfection (she'll never find you). Therefore, if you wish, you can consider the many different ways that you can turn your writing into income.
Welcome to the writer's life.