Thursday, January 23, 2014

How to Get in the Writing Zone

I write every weekday, and I think that this is the key to my writing productivity.

People sometimes ask me how I can get in the writing zone every single day. After having written every day for the past several years, writing has become a habit. I no longer need to get in the zone, as writing is habitual for me.

However, it is also true that there are a few strategies that I practice that enhance my clarity and make it easier to get in the writing zone. In this blog post, I will share a few of these strategies with you. I also will challenge you to try these strategies for two weeks to see if you are able to develop a writing habit.

Are you struggling with writing consistently? If so, try and implement these strategies, adjusted for the particularities of your schedule:

  • Make a writing plan for the week. Decide exactly what writing projects you will work on this week. For example: Finalize article and submit to journal. Finish literature review for Chapter Three.
  • Break your writing plan down by days, and make specific tasks for tomorrow. For example: Monday: Refine methodology section and add sample details from proposal. Tuesday: Add references on neoliberalism to literature review.
  • At 8pm tonight, turn off all electronic devices: cellular phone, laptop, tablet, television, etc.
  • Find a novel and read it in bed.
  • Sleep by 9pm.
  • Wake up at 5am or 6am.
  • Write for 30 minutes when you first wake up, before checking email or social media accounts.

I know that not everyone has the life circumstances that would permit them to implement this schedule. So, it is not for everybody. However, I will say that having children or a family does not necessarily prevent you from having a similar schedule.

At some point, your children will be old enough to put themselves to bed and to take care of their immediate needs in the mornings. In my house, everyone turns off their electronic devices at 8pm and reads or goes to sleep. My children are old enough to do this on their own. When they were younger, I would read to them, and thus had much less time to read novels that I found interesting.

In these strategies, you will find that I suggest getting 8 to 9 hours of sleep. Nearly everyone needs this amount of sleep in order to function at their highest mental capacity and to have the ability to focus.

I also suggest reading novels, as any writer should read to perfect our craft.

If you think these strategies are feasible for you, I encourage you to try to implement them for two weeks to see if daily writing - and writing before checking your email - can become habits for you.

Let me know how it works for you.