You’re a creative. Use it.
You’re a creative. Use it.
In 2016, I attended a two-day workshop run by an author and psychologist. Its purpose was to give writers the necessary tools to finish their project, focusing on how to get in the right head space and plan properly.
Many attendees, including authors who’d published multiple books, were stuck. I was bored and had almost stalled because the drafting process felt endless.
At the end of weekend, I came away with a solid, realistic plan to finish my novel. I exceeded my goals and finished drafting well before my deadline. I’m using the same tools now to help me finish my redraft before Christmas.
Here are a some helpful points that came out of the workshop.
The optimal mindset for creativity involves being a little excited, optimistic and seeking pleasure. You might have to fake it til you make it, but don’t give in to negative thoughts.
There are ways to help you create this mindset. Close your eyes and imagine a welcoming, mental place you can travel to before you begin work. For me, this was a deserted beach with wild waves on a cool days. For someone else it was a brightly coloured circus tent. You might also like to do a bit of relaxation, meditation, repeat some affirmations, go for a walk or do some breathing exercises before you work.
If you have a bad writing day, and we all do, separate yourself from your work. Don’t judge yourself and create fear and anxiety, which will be counterproductive the next time you write. The work simply didn’t go well — it wasn’t your entire being the failed.
Develop strategies to push through fears and doubts. There are many books on this, or read a piece by an author you admire about how they achieve this? The are loads on the Internet.
Be prepared to go beyond your comfort zone into new creative territory. Play, have fun. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Not a lot when you think about it. Trust yourself! You can always adjust your words later. Just get something down on the page.
This is about creating the optimum writing environment for you. When, where and how are you most productive? The aim is to find regular times to write and the best physical space in which to do that with the technology and other resources you need.
Write down your answers and create a plan. Diarise these times and build strong boundaries around them to ensure nothing gets in the way of your writing.
Set your intentions
Write down your long, medium and short-term goals. Be specific.
Measure your progress daily, weekly and monthly. Small achievements over time add up and are motivating.
I keep a diary of my daily weekday word limit because that’s how I’ve decided to monitor my redrafting. But word count is only one possible way. You could set goals for outlines, chapters or a manuscript end date. For example:
In your plan, make sure you have the following elements:
For more hints on creating a writing routine, see this post here.
Now go for it!
Some of mine off the top of my head include:
Should you write multiple books at the same time? Perhaps you have ideas and characters bursting out of you. Or you have two or more stories of equal importance.
I believe it’s possible under some circumstances to write two manuscripts at the same time, but with some clear boundaries.
That said, there are circumstances where your writing energy would be better spent getting one project to a certain finished point first. How do you know?
If you can’t stop yourself from writing more than one book at a time, here are some guidelines:
But if like many people working on two manuscripts means you’re diffusing your energy, there are ways you can keep your non-priority project alive.
Good luck fellow writers. Remember, never never never give in. Keep on learning and improving.
I had an amazing writing day the other day. Words flowed out of me in a way I’d been working towards for a while.
What did I do differently that day? I asked myself. It took me a while to work out what it was, but I’d spent the morning doing physical work and listening to music – my Best Songs Eva playlist. I’ve been experimenting since then with listening to music before and during writing. This is what I found: