When you are moved by an inspiration, don’t forget to act on it.
~ James Browne, artist
What did you do today? If you are like me, you may have spent the day avoiding doing the thing you thought you most wanted to do. For me, that is usually avoiding writing. I truly want to write, but often find myself doing anything but. I can get a boatload of other stuff done when I am avoiding writing. Some days, I’ll clean out a closet or reconcile my bank account rather than sit down and write.
Today a writer friend posted on Facebook that he was having trouble getting back into the book he is currently writing after a hiatus while he worked on refining some of his older material.
I’ve been avoiding writing lately as well, after the big push to get my first book published. I’m also procrastinating on the long list of to-do items on my book promotion list.
So I decided to answer his Facebook post with some of devices I’ve found to help me get started, and then I found myself in the flow (which, of course, is always what happens if I will just START writing), so I decided to keep on writing.
Here are some of the activities that help me start writing. I’m writing them down so that I will be more likely to remember to use them!
- Let your passion drive you. I get an idea and allow myself to follow that thread of desire – that interesting idea that gets me intrigued – and then, quick, before my mind moves on to something else, I sit down and write.
- Stay off the computer at first. Start writing longhand and then when the momentum is building, go to the computer. I sometimes get distracted if I sit down at my laptop before I’m in the flow. It’s too tempting to go on Facebook and see what my writer friends posted today!
- Change your venue. If you usually write in a certain room, go into the back yard, or to a different room in the house. If you usually sit, stand up. If you always write at home, take your writing paraphernalia to the coffee shop, the art museum, the botanic gardens, the park.
- Take a walk. Clear your head. Notice the physical world, breathe in the fresh air. Come back and go right into writing mode.
- Tell yourself you are just going to write for five minutes–give yourself permission to stop after five minutes–and then start writing. I can never stop in five minutes once I’ve gotten started.
- Write anything. Just start writing, even if it is just: “WTF, WTF, WTF!”
- Write something bad: “It was a dark and stormy night…” You’re bound to start laughing at yourself and segue into writing what you want to write.
- Commit – to someone else – to write together at a certain time each day or each week. I got a lot done on my book last summer when I had a writing partner and we would get together for a few hours and write at one of our homes or at a coffee shop.
- Commit to write at a certain time each day by “book-ending” with a friend or a group. Book-ending (or BEing) is when you tell someone else your writing plan, and then email or text “I’m writing!” to that person right as you begin. You could elaborate on what you are writing if that helps get the juices flowing. Then when you are done, you email or text again: “Yay!” or whatever will mark the end. No need for the other person to respond, although I usually do, just to provide encouragement.
- Place inordinate value on your writing time and on your writing. Do you love to write? Is it your calling? Are you happiest when you’re in the groove? Are you one who needs to “make meaning” every day or the day just doesn’t feel right? Then be willing to give your writing the time it needs, give your day the meaning that it needs, and give your life the substance that it needs. You won’t regret it, and the world will be better for it.