It bit you. The writing bug. Huzzah! You want to embark on your newest project and get as many words on the page as possible. (It is currently Camp NaNoWriMo right now) But first, let's go over some measures to take so you can be as focused as possible during your next writing sprint.
Here are four tips that can help you make writing a regular part of your life again.
1. Make yourself comfortable
Make sure the space you’re going to be writing in is ideal for both your comfort and creativity. That may be a writing desk, or your bed, maybe the kitchen table. Step 3 in my first blog goes further in depth about the importance of your writing space! Whatever that environment may be, strive to make it the very best for you! Obviously, the more focused you are, the better.
I recommend grabbing a drink and a snack to keep within reach. While breaks are good, it’s also beneficial to get up as infrequently as possible. We all probably need to be drinking more water anyways, so why not keep a glass with you? Personally, I have a giant mug of Peppermint Mocha coffee and a glass of water with me whenever I’m writing. And although I don’t drink alcohol while writing, some people swear by it. Just please consume alcohol safely and in a safe place 😉.
I downed six cups of coffee and two mugs of water writing today
Some writers like to reward their efforts with food. Fruit, chips, cookies, granola bars...the options are plentiful! And by all means, if that motivation helps you get words on the page, go for it.
Remember, it’s all about creating the environment in which you and your creativity can thrive.
2. Gather Support From Online
On Twitter, there is a tremendous group of writers, called the #Writingcommunity. (I recommend all writers to become active within the group. Who doesn’t like making new friends?) The Writing Community is great for engaging with other writers; whether that's spreading word about each other's work, doing writing sprints as a group, or replying to questions from fellow writers.
By being an active member, there's great opportunity to have support while being held accountable. Having a group of fellow writers to work with can be extremely motivational. Checking-in on friends and being checked-in on by friends who care is just plain nice.
There are plenty of other ways to get support and to connect with other creatives. There’s r/WritersGroup on Reddit, the #writersofinstagram tag on Instagram, and here’s just a few writing groups on Facebook. This is just a very, very small tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds, if not thousands of groups, tags, and people all across the world and web.
Whatever your niche and writing interests may be, and whatever platform you like to spend time on, there are writers waiting to connect with you! If you ever want to connect with me, I'm on Twitter and Instagram 😊
3. Work From an Outline
Are they completely necessary? No. But are they great? Yes. Outlines streamline your writing process and make it so much easier to pick up where you left off, helping you get back into your writing groove quicker.
What’s great about outlines is that they can take any form you want.
Whether it’s a few bullet points or pages of detailed notes, whatever keeps your thoughts and ideas organized is best. You can type them, scribble them down in a notebook, or one of my favorites, write them out on a whiteboard. The outlining world is your oyster.
When I was in college, I loved outlining my papers on the giant whiteboards in the classrooms and library study rooms.
One of my frantic outlining sessions about Lord Byron from college in 2017.
While many of us, and I, don’t have that privilege anymore, I went ahead and bought a whiteboard after I finished school. Writing my ideas down and literally being able to take a step back and read through them has helped me tremendously.
My whiteboard. The poor thing has been through a lot.
4. Set a Time and Space Where You Can Fully Devote to Getting Work Done
We’re all different. And we all lead very different lifestyles. Whether you’re a night owl, or watch the sun rise each day, or somewhere in-between, try to schedule a time to write.
Finding the time and space to create with the least amount of distractions possible is difficult, but it is important. Maybe your partner can watch the kids, or you can write while the family is asleep (easier said than done, I know). Or you can escape for ten-to-twenty devoted minutes to write to your heart's content. Whatever amount of time you can devote to your craft is beneficial, I promise. Remember, one minute is better than zero minutes.
It’s so easy to compare, and sometimes it can serve as a healthy motivation, but don’t beat yourself up if you find you aren’t writing as often as others. It’s okay. It’s okay to not write every day. It’s okay to be busy.
However, if you want to make writing a part of your daily routine, then you do need to practice some self-discipline. Just be kind to yourself. Remember, one new word on the page is better than zero.
Best of luck with your next writing endeavor! Hopefully these quick tips can help you establish some structure and a focused mindset before jumping into your latest writing adventure. What do you do before you start writing?