Writing Habits

Do you ever get that sudden spark of inspiration where you go into a writing trance and next thing you know you’ve written three pages worth of content?

Me too. I wish those moments would happen ALL THE TIME. If I was that productive all the time, I would have written 50 books by now!

Most of the time we, Writers, are incredibly motivated to write and we have tons of ideas on what to write about, but we struggle with the actual writing process. It’s not that we’re bad writers, it’s not “Writer’s Block” the way most people understand it, and it’s not that we’re just lazy and love to procrastinate. Well, not all the time at least.

In order for our brains to come up with those wonderful ideas for books, we have to tap into a different part of our brain than the one that helps us articulate the perfect sentence. That’s probably why, when we finally have those brilliant moments of writing, it feels like an explosive high where we amaze ourselves by our literary superpowers! We’re using a higher capacity of our brains than normal during those passionate nights between you and your keyboard…or notebook…or typewriter.

During those long stretches of scenic quietness and annoying crickets, we try to “find” inspiration in order to create that spark again. We read books, we try to focus on something else and look up inspirational quotes, only to be no closer to the euphoria we strive for. Believe it or not, “just start writing” and “if you don’t write today, you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter” kind of quotes will actually make it harder for you to actually write what you want. That’s because you can’t find inspiration. It’s not lost. You have it inside you, all you need is the spark to connect that inspiration with the self-discipline and brain power necessary to use both sides of your mind in order to write compelling pieces of fiction…or non-fiction…or poetry.

Ironically, no amount of other people’s words are going to help you start writing. It’s all in your brain. If you want to use more of your brain, first you have to wake it up! Do something that causes you to think in different ways. Workout to get your endorphins up. Have a super-fruit smoothie and then dress up, do your hair and put on your favorite lipstick (or tie, if you’re a guy).

If you want to make writing a habit, you have to make accessing both sides of your brain a habit. Start implementing an hour of writing right after you finish getting ready in the morning or right after your afternoon workout. Start doing trivia quizzes, crossword puzzles or wordsearches and then writing intermittently. You can’t always just start writing. Sometimes you need your body to want to write and can’t complete a manuscript by shear will.

We know we want to write, we know what we want to write and we know that we should write, but try telling that to your brain. Seriously, go try it. Pick something different to do that gets your heart beat up and creative juices flowing, and then write in 25 minute intervals with 5 minute breaks in between. Creating a habit takes practice and writing a book takes time. Be patient but stay passionate.

Happy Writing!

Dawn Zauner – Writing Expert
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