In order to write, you need to be in the right/write state of mind. Here are ten steps to help you get in the groove.
1. Schedule writing time. That’s right, add it to your calendar just as you would any other obligation. Set the time and stick to it. Avoid distractions and let your friends and family know you are not available during this time. Switch your phone to silent and disconnect from the internet. Feed the pets, let the dog out, and don’t answer the door. You’re not home, you are at work now.
2. Put on your writing clothes. Yes, you need an outfit to get you in work mode. If you sit around in your bathrobe, you will likely take a nap rather than write. When I go to my day job as a labor and delivery nurse, I put on scrubs, add my name tag clearly stating “RN”, break out my stethoscope and don the clogs. Wearing my uniform immediately puts me into nurse mode. Likewise, dressing for your job as a writer will help you assume the role.
3. Make the coffee. Make a lot of coffee. This is an essential writing drink to keep you awake when nap time calls you. Pick a mug for your drink that matches your mood or the mood for your writing session.
4. Clean up your desk! You can’t work amidst a mess. Tidy up your writing space so it is only a writing space, not a clutter of mail and magazines, dirty dishes, and piles of scratch paper.
5. Check your email so you won’t be tempted to stop writing to check. Pay your bills. Take care of appointments. Schedule your dental checkup. Do everything now that you might use as an excuse to leave the page later.
6. Check your social media accounts now to catch up on what’s happening, removing temptation for later. Make a global post: writer at work – do not disturb.
7. Make a music playlist for your writing. Pick music that either puts you in the mood, or matches the mood of your chapter. Romantic music to write that scene? Angst music to get through the breakup dialogue? There is music to match every emotion. Find yours and make a great playlist.
8. Have your research done beforehand and notes ready to go. There will be no checking the internet for anything during your writing time. Plan ahead!
9. Go for a walk to clear your head. Revel in nature. Feel the sun on your face or the raindrops on your head. Sweep the cobwebs from your brain and get ready to call on your creativity.
10. Write! Show up at the keyboard, on time, dressed for work, coffee in hand. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. Show up at the keyboard. How do you become a better writer? Write, write, write, and write some more.