Your Writing Zone
Hi there and welcome to April’s Writerly Witterings. This month I’m going to talk about different ways to get into your writing zone. This will include the offering of some writing exercises along with some tried and tested rituals you can adopt.
Once you are in your writing zone, it is a rewarding and exciting place to be. But getting there successfully is different for every writer and can be easier or harder depending on a number of factors:
- How tired you are.
- How long it has been since you last wrote.
- Your emotional state.
- How much time you have to spend on your current writing exercises.
- Whether you have a deadline.
- The environment you have available to work in.
- Current levels of writerly confidence.
- Whether you are starting something new or continuing with something already underway.
- What support you have from those around you.
And ultimately, whether or not you are feeling ‘fired up’ to write.
Imagine you sit down with your laptop or notebook…
It is first thing on a Saturday morning and you feel refreshed after a good night’s sleep. You have made yourself a coffee and told your family to leave you alone for a couple of hours so you can get on and write. You have purposely kept this time free and laid out everything you will need at your desk.
You have a new blank document open, an idea, a notebook and pen beside you and the internet for any research you need to do.
You glance around at the bookshelf behind you. All those books written by other authors. Before long, your book will be gracing the bookshelves of people’s homes too. You stare out of the window for a few minutes. Then you look at your computer screen and hover your fingers above the keys.
Your mind is a blank. You stare at the wall. After ten minutes, you open up Facebook. Then you decide you will quickly check your bank balance. Once that is done you will be able to focus. Before you know it, half an hour has slipped by.
You pick up your pen. What to write, you write, then you look back at your screen but instead of crafting glorious prose or completing the simplest of writing exercises, you are thinking about what you need to get at the supermarket later.
It can be tricky enough to ringfence some sacred writing time without losing it due to being unable to get into the zone. The answer lies in treating a writing session in one or all of the following ways:
- An exercise session that requires being warmed up for.
- A meditative practice that involves getting into a particular headspace.
- An activity that needs uninterrupted and concentrated focus.
So whilst it is possible to launch straight into an immersive and productive writing session, most writers will benefit from one or more of the ideas offered below as a new ritual to practice:
Choose one activity each time you want to get into your writing zone – spend two to ten minutes. Some are writing exercises and some are more therapeutic.
- Sit and be. Clear your mind and visualise the setting or the character or any other aspect you are going to write about.
- Listen to a piece of music that allows you to transfer from your usual bustling self to your writing self.
- Read a poem or passage that inspires you to being your best writing self to the page.
- Listen to sounds as you prepare to write. For example, waves, birdsong, the rain or ambient music.
- Light a candle. Allow its scent to motivate you and its light to guide you.
- Repeat a writing mantra to yourself. For example, My writing is going to be wonderful today.
- Free write. Don’t think about the content. Just let your thoughts roam across the page. Out of your words may come some juicy nuggets of ideas.
- Set yourself a goal. List how you will get there.
- Draw a mind map of ideas for what your next scene, poem or story will contain.
- Write a word string or phrases and images that you could use in your current work in progress.
- Try one of the following writing warm up exercises:
- Write a monologue in the voice of one of your characters.
- Write a piece that personifies an inanimate object.
- List ten words associated with the sea – write a poetic piece which includes them all.
- Write about the view beyond your window.
- Choose a piece of art. Re-paint the picture but use words.
You will find that after you have practised the ritual that works for you, the ideas will flow readily and you will be more focused.
Free Mini Writing Course
And for further inspiration, look no further than my latest free mini course on YouTube, The 12 Days of Easter Writing, which offers a combination of Easter and Spring-related writing prompts. Click below for day one.
I would love to hear if you have already got a ritual or writing exercise that helps you get into your writing zone, or which of my suggestions work for you. Post into the comments box to let me know.
If you are interested in giving yourself a bigger writing project, all 4 of my ‘how-to’ books for writers are available in eBook format for 1.99(UK) Click here to visit my Amazon page. (2.99US/EU)
Enjoy the rest of your writing month and I’ll see you next time. I release a new blog post on the 8th of every month.
Bye for now.
With very best wishes,
PS: This blog post is also available as a YouTube video.
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