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.
Thanks, I needed that! Great advice, Minette!
I will be using your tips to help me in the 31 day Blog Challenge. Need all the help I can get. Thank you!
I especially agree about exercising the writing muscle. I’d also add that we have several kinds of writing muscle, one for each genre of writing we do. I love writing fiction and have done quite a bit of it, but I find these days I don’t have much fiction stamina. I write nonfiction for a living and can write articles and webpages all day, though! It used to be the other way around, but now I’m just starting to build my fiction muscles up again.
So true, Deb! Great reminder about our different writing muscles. For me, poetry is the genre I would like to dedicate more time to.
Great tips! Have you tried one of those minimalist writing software programs? I’ve thought about trying one to get rid of distractions. I also need to find a way to schedule writing time, but that’s difficult to do with little ones.
My husband uses Jdarkroom on the Mac and loved it. I still prefer pen and paper when I want to escape distraction.
What a great quote, Minette! “Secrets are written large in our large in our works” (paraphrased) is so true. Probably moreso when you try to hide them. By the way, I’ve been looking for a good tool to superimpose quotes on images. What are you using?
I use InDesign or Photoshop but I know there are some freebie tools. Don’t have any recommendations, sorry.
Wonderful post Minette! This is great information for a newbie writer like me.
Hi Minette, found you via Ultimate blog challenge. This is a great post! I think being social also helps, for example this challenge. Interacting with others is great for accountability and also for getting new ideas, in addition to creating the daily habit of writing.
I agree Mercedes, I love the accountability UBC offers, thanks for stopping by.
I love these tips…writing is a huge outlet for me everyday so I really appreciate this post, Minette!
Me, too, Emily. It is so often my saving grace. When I was younger I only used to write when I was sad or had a problem I wanted to work through. I have found that writing more often keeps me sane and in a better frame of mind every day. The writing habit kicked in for me after I read The Artist’s Way for the first time and started morning pages.
Great advice for 2013!
Thanks, Linda, happy writing!
Great post, and particularly applicable to me. I love my writing time, and want to do more. But, I can easily let business take center stage, and suddenly I’m out of day. #blogboost
The UBC blog challenge is a great way to build the habit, Joan! Writing is such a great way to grow our business, I have found that combining my love of writing with my business helps me stay focused on both in positive ways.
I find writing late at night when everyone else is asleep works best for me. I used to be a writer with a column in a week journal and articles published in magazines. It used to come so easy to me. It’s much more of a challenge these days and I think you hit the nail on the head about exercising the writing muscles. I need to do more of it and these blog challenges force me to do that.
Do you ever miss the deadlines, Julia? I find my biggest challenge is setting and staying accountable to my own deadlines without the external pressure. I owned a magazine for 11 years and while I don’t miss the stress and craziness of that business, I was very productive 🙂
I do my daily morning pages and I am doing a blogging challenge. Like, one of the other commenters though I would like to be doing more fiction-writing. I will think about what you said and figure out when to dedicate time each day to work on those projects.
Good luck, Monick!! I have found that if I try to schedule time every day, I get overwhelmed. So I pick a couple of days a week for either writing poetry or making art. It feels like a treat and something wonderful to look forward to instead of a chore.
I don’t usually browse blogs, but I found yours very interesting Minette! I was googling the Einstein miracles quote when I found you here. I have a dog named Bailey who has inspired me in ways as well, as Chulo did for you.
I have not been a serious writer for long, but now that I’m retired it has become an addiction more than a habit. I can’t stop now that I have a portable 7inch tablet to track all the thoughts I have to write about every day (that and my PC share a note taking app called EverNote which I can’t live without).
My primary writing project is addictive as well, because it isn’t about me at all, but rather understanding what God is actually saying in Genesis One. It also isn’t really about feelings but understanding, because God requires us to THINK when we meet deception.
The main problem folks have with Genesis One is the way four simple inspired words are traditionally translated. The most important of these is pronounced YOM, and the name of the first proof God is good. That wonderful daylight in that awful utter dark. Because it is translated as “day” people miss that God’s provision of daylight included revealing truth, powering life, guiding directions, and measuring time. All of that wonderfully good stuff came by God’s words alone, each of those six daylights.
The thinking goes on from there, but it begins with the idea those four words are basic to simple ideas about why God is good, because Adam and Eve had to know that before meeting deception about God in the Garden.
I don’t yet have a blog or forum going on TheTruthLover.Org, but I hope to soon! Thanks for the good work and keep it up!