What's keeping you from sticking to a regular writing habit?
DISCLAIMER: you expect yourself to start typing just as the alarm goes off.
You set the alarm to a particular hour that you committed to respect every day.
You sit down, open a new page and expect yourself to start typing without interruption.
You expect that words will just flow from your head to your fingers down on to paper.
Here’s what you should actually do:
W: wrestle down with distractions.
Set the alarm to start writing and also set the minimum time you should stay with that paper.
Once your alarm goes off, block the world out.
Close ALL the tabs and windows on your computer, tell people to not come in. Just you and that damn paper in a comfortable room and maybe some books around.
You’ll be surprised by what can come out of your brain when you give it the right to talk without being interrupted and without comparing it to other brains.
That’s why I love writing after everyone has gone to sleep, that way there is no potential risk of someone coming in or even calling me.
Plus my father turns the wifi off when he’s off to sleep, so keeping myself from the internet is one less thing I have to deal with.
Writing being nothing but the almost accurate translation of what’s swirling in our minds and hearts into words, it is necessary to listen before translating.
Call it your Mind Palace or Meditation or Connecting the Dots… just give yourself a little time to situate yourself in regard of your writing.
What are you gonna work on during this session? Reflect on an outline you already made or one you are yet to jot down.
What do you wanna achieve? what you don’t want your writing to be? what are the core messages you wanna communicate? what has been happening in your life lately that can inspire your writing?….
One way I like to do this is to dampen two cotton pads in rose water and putting them on my eyes while lying flat on my back. In the dark. 10 to 15 minutes in, my mind starts begging me to get up and jot down all the wonders it came up with, all the dots it connected…
…But my brain being too fast to keep up with and with the risk of losing the newly born compilations of words, I can only take notes of the racing thoughts.
That’s what I call itinerating. Some people call it outlining or whatever.
The process of putting pins on a map. Writing the flashing, core ideas of your piece (or pieces) of writing.
The point of this step is to end up with a page full of scattered pieces of a puzzle, unfinished sentences, long expressions that will later be turned to one strong word…
You got the idea…
Similar to the reflection step but with in a more focused and organised way…I don’t know about you but I can’t write without visualising what I’m about to write so I find it essential to think of each one of the points above and see what I have to say about it before moving on to the next step…
Now to the part you thought you should do all along the timed session you set yourself.
Even better, this is now easier because you have bricks to build on.
Take every one of your intinerations and elaborate it, expand it, add examples to it, describe how you came up with it in your style, with your own words without thinking too hot about it.
I’m pretty confident that by now words will actually be flowing through your fingers because all you’re doing is pulling the needle from the huge hack in your head.
I like to think of this entire process of preliminary writing as building the skeleton of a piece of writing that will later one be worked on, edited and polished into a hopefully mind-changing, heart-solacing and/or catalysing pieces of art.