Want to Write More? Master a Writer’s Mindset
Want to Write More? Master a Writer’s Mindset
From the fun and flirtatious to professional and personal, writing is an important part of our creative lives. No matter what career you are in or what kind of creative work you choose to do, you write on a daily basis, whether it’s an email, a social media post or an authentic personal blog about your passions and interests.
Virginia Woolf says in the quote above, your secrets are written large in your written works. When was the last time you wrote for yourself? Perhaps you have been wanting to write more: a book, a blog, Julia Cameron’s morning pages, a personal journal. Writing is essential to our thriving in this modern world and is also a powerful tool for personal development and self-inquiry. It is healing, transformational and grounding all at the same time.
You didn’t learn how to write for fun in school and you have dreaded writing class with all it’s grammar rules and grading rubrics that made no sense to your creative spirit. Have you forgotten how to be creative in writing? Were you that teenager who kept a secret diary where you poured out your heart, secret crushes and biggest dreams? I was! I have loved journaling and diary-keeping most of my life. The style and format have evolved over the decades but I write almost daily.
I still have the letters my husband sent me from Korea in the early days of our relationship when he was sent there for work for a couple of months. My grandmother kept every card and letter I ever sent her! I recently found an entire folder of old poetry written in high school and college that I had forgotten existed. It’s mostly awful but shows my love of writing from an early age.
I have published 3 books and have been saying for two years I am ready to write my 4th. But I am not writing my book. I am writing constantly but not giving time and attention to what feels important to me right now.
There are a few things happening: I’m not clear enough to write and am still uncertain of the direction and focus of the book. I’m in the dreaming and research phase but I can’t stay here forever. Also, I’m not doing the following steps to cultivate a writer’s mindset.
I’ve been deeply steeped in making visual art for the last few years and it took over my life and my business. Now I’m ready to bring writing back. In fact, my friend Andrea Chebeleu and I created a wonderful 10-week program called The Creative Stretch that is all about the integration of art and writing into a powerful personal process for connecting to our own inner knowing and committing to a consistent creative practice.
For now, I want to share how to cultivate a writer’s mindset. As soon as I finish writing this post, I’m going to go schedule some writing blocks in my calendar. It’s time to get to work, to let go of knowing it all now, let go of perfectionism and commit to the journey of writing my next book.
So how do you get started? By cultivating a writer’s mindset.
Here are 4 effortless ways to start writing now:
- Get rid of distractions.
Especially if you are writing on your computer, turn off email, internet and Facebook notifications. Turn off your cell phone, home phone and Skype. No one will forget about you because you make time to write. In fact, they will respect you for making the time. Does this sound familiar? “Oh no, I forgot to close my browser, I have two new Instagram notifications, they might be important.” I promise, whatever it is can wait. Social media is our biggest distraction from our own creative process and clarity.
- Schedule the time in your calendar.
If you are like me, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by your day, your to-do list, interruptions from family and kids. Do you schedule time for lunch? For exercise? For meetings? If you are serious about writing, make the time. Block out several short blocks of time each week for your business writing, journaling or blogging. I’ve been doing great with frequent writing bouts in my personal journal but not so great at making time to work on my book.
- Scheduling the time in your calendar will help you to make writing a HABIT.
Not all habits are bad, some are quite good like making healthy food choices, exercising, getting plenty of sleep and WRITING! Want to know more about habits, check out the book The Power of Habit, it’s a great audio book. I love audio books. I don’t have enough time to read, too busy writing. Audio books allow me to use car time or long walks on the beach to catch up on reading, too.
- Finally, you have to EXERCISE your writing muscles.
I find that the more I write, the more the ideas flow freely and the more I want to write. It’s a lot like running, getting out the front door is the hardest part but it feels so good when you are done. I find that when I write in my journal in the mornings, I get ideas for blog posts, marketing ideas, new courses, and inspiration for all kinds of things. And if I found clarity around my book, I know those ideas will flow more easily too.
If writing more is on your list for this year, what are you willing to commit to? How will you create a writer’s mindset?
If you want to write more, make more art or find a way to incorporate more creativity into your daily life, be sure to check out The Creative Stretch 10-week program.