I think almost every writer has experienced that bit of euphoria that comes when your fingers can’t keep up with how fast the story is coming from your brain. IT JUST IS. This feeling reminds me a bit of that moment when acting on stage and you go from yourself to the character, and everything you’ve rehearsed, just HAPPENS.
But what I want you to remember here is that some authors write like this all the time, others “rehearse” so they can write this way.
These are things I use when I don’t just sit down and immediately blaze flaming trails over my keyboard, or, things I do beforehand to make sure that I can create flaming trails 🙂
1. SET THE MOOD:
You need snacks? GET THEM. You need a specific pair of pants? GET THEM. You like quiet? MAKE IT HAPPEN. You like music? DO IT. Do not short-change yourself when it comes to your surroundings. I wrote HAS TO BE LOVE while wearing my husband’s Captain American Pajama pants. I wore them for the first two days of writing that novel, and when I woke up on the 3rd day and the words weren’t flowing, I put them on. BAM. Back in the groove.
When I was working on ALL THE FOREVER THINGS, I drank hot chocolate. Any time the words weren’t flowing, I’d get more hot chocolate. My jeans were a bit tight at the end of that month… And I just did copyedits on that one, and guess what? The second I opened the MS, I needed hot chocolate, but it put my head right back in that world.
2. KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GONNA WRITE:
I pre-write all the time. I don’t WRITE write, I just hit the CAPS LOCK key and jot down a few notes. I do this pretty often at the end of a writing session, or sometimes before I shut down my computer for the night. I very often write in several 40-60 minute bursts, and before I get up, I hit my CAPS LOCK and write a note or two.
If you don’t know what you’re going to write, NO WORRIES! Go back and read over a bit of what you’ve already written. Get yourself back in that headspace.
3. TURN OFF THE INTERNET!!!! OFF!!!!!!
If you really want to blaze through word count, you can’t stop to look things up. Make a note and move on. You don’t want to be interrupted by notifications. Now, I have to leave my phone available in case the kids’ schools call, but NOTHING ELSE GETS ANSWERED. When I slack off of this rule, my word count plummets.
4. THE TIMER METHOD
I’ll give you a link, but the basics are -> Set a timer. Ignore everything for about 40 minutes. IF at the end of that 40 minutes, you’re smokin’ keep writing. If, at the end of that 40 minutes, you’re like FINALLY IT IS OVER, then you can stop.
Walk around, do some menial task that requires no brain power (YES, even if you’re at Starbucks or Panera or something – get up and move or get up and at least stretch). While you’re moving your body, think about your book. Prepare. Then sit down and do it again.
For my full post on the timer method, GO HERE.
5. WRITING WON’T ALWAYS COME EASY
Writing won’t always come easy, and that’s okay. Sometimes just knowing that EVERYONE has an off day, makes our off days feel okay.
6. TAKE BREAKS
I will never subscribe to the idea that writers have to write every day. We don’t have to write every day. If you never finish projects, this might be a problem, otherwise, TAKE BREAKS, your brain needs the rest. That being said, if you’re in the middle of a project, spend time thinking about that project, even on days when you don’t have time to write.
And next will be – how to be in your story when you’re not writing… Some common sense, and hopefully a few new things to add to your writing toolbox 🙂