Tips for Writers: Staying in Your Writing Groove

I have a whole new level of respect for writers and the art of writing. Believe it or not, it’s hard work even if you are sitting down on your derriere at the computer for hours. Using mental energy can feel just as intense as exerting physical force. I’ve discovered this as I am currently working on my book series, Navigating Modern Love ©. I’ve spent countless hours so far writing, researching and interviewing people. It’s both joyous and grueling at the same time. Sometimes you just don’t feel like writing or you get overwhelmed but deadlines trump that!  I found that there are things you can do to lighten the load and make work more pleasurable.

Getting into your Writing Groove

Set up an area. The most important thing is to set up an area specifically designated in your home if you don’t have a separate office. I had to sacrifice my art studio to give my children more space. I set up a corner in my room where I can shut the door, shut out the world and get to work.

Take a break. Allow yourself to take several breaks throughout the day. Get up and move around, get the circulation flowing by taking a walk. Inhale a few deep breaths to get centered again if you feel like you’ve hit a wall. Fresh air and sunlight helps to shift our mood. If you live in Seattle though, I can’t help you on the sunlight portion.

Pack power snacks. Load up on healthy snacks and “brain food” like walnuts and fruit. The worst thing you can do is load up on sleepy carbs. Think protein. Drink water in between coffee binges.

Get out of the house. If you’re needing a change of pace, sit at the library with your laptop. The type of environment sets the tone because it’s quiet and everyone is in academic/learning mode. Some writers prefer more stimulation and so sitting in a coffee shop or Barnes and Noble cafe might be more your speed.

Do morning pages. If you’ve hit a creative rut in general, get up 15 minutes earlier every morning and do “morning pages”.  If you’re an artist, chances are that you’ve read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. Julie suggests waking up first thing and just writing out all of your thoughts. They do not need to be coherent, meaningful or profound. Just get everything out on paper even if you’re writing about the mundane like doing the laundry it doesn’t matter. It’s really cathartic and makes space for inspiration to come through.

Create outlines. Set goals on what you intend to accomplish for the week. Have a plan before you even sit down to write, like a word count goal. Remember, you can always edit later.

Schedule blocks of time. If you already work full time (but not as a full time writer) finding time to write may seem impossible, especially if you’re raising a family or running a business. But remember your passion is a priority! Try to schedule 2-3 hour chunks where you can sit and focus. Pencil it in on your calendar.

Keep inspiration close. I have a wall hanging with a Pablo Picasso quote which says, “I don’t know what inspiration is, but when it comes, I hope it finds me working.” Sometimes we don’t feel like doing anything and so we have to have a back-up plan to get the creative juices flowing again. Keep your favorite music within reach. Hang art work in your area. Phone a fellow creative friend.

Keep a notebook on hand. These days, everyone has their little technical gadgets to record notes on. Never forget the value of a good, old-fashioned notebook where you can jot down your brilliant ideas to save for later. I carry a small notebook in my purse.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Guaranteed, there will be days where you just can’t produce good material. You can either badger the hell  out of yourself or practice forgiveness and try again tomorrow.

Buy a heat pack for your shoulders. Sitting at a computer typing creates a lot of muscle tension. Get yourself a heat pack to put on your shoulder blades and neck to relieve discomfort. You can get one for $10.

Have an accountability partner. Make friends with other writers and check-in with each other to track progress and get feedback.

Hopefully these pointers have been helpful. Now get back to work! I wish you continued success on your creative path.

All the Best,


2 Responses to Tips for Writers: Staying in Your Writing Groove

  1. Gina says:

    Great advice! I still haven’t read The Artist’s Way yet, but I just stumbled upon writing my own version of “morning pages” by accident. Free writing and journaling helps me define and organize my creative thoughts. The end result is more coherent work.

    And the heat pack idea……brilliant!

  2. I like the efforts you have put in this, thank you for all the great content.

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