Writing Tips to Change Your Life
Beginning a writing project can feel daunting. There are so many parts to be completed before the final product is in our hands. Routines are especially important for success as they allow us to have 'single pointed focus' or 'dhyana'. Routines also establish 'commitment' which cultivates 'character', the first two steps in Yogi Bhajan's seven steps to happiness. I've found having a writing routine help me overcome fears, doubts, and my own internal unwillingness to write.
So what makes a good writing routine?
It all depends on you as a person, and how you like to approach tasks. I've found a few methods that have worked really well for me, so maybe they will work well for you too. Below are the top writing routines used by authors of the past to get the work done. Take what you need, and release the steps that don't feel right to you.
Write in the Morning // Emily Bronte
The morning is a sacred time for getting things done. Throughout the world, thousands of ancient texts remind us that the morning is magic. Emily Bronte was a strong believer in morning productivity. She would get most of her daily work done before 10am to avoid not doing it at all. Rise early with the sun, meditate, then head to your desk. I do between 30 minutes and 2 hours of writing in the morning, depending on what I'm doing for the rest of the day. After my writing is done, I know I won't feel guilty when I do my other daily tasks. The important thing to remember is set aside a time, otherwise writing will consume too much of your life and you will begin to feel resentful. Getting your writing done before midday makes you feel do productive and accomplished, you won't regret it!
Have A Calm Environment // E. B. White
Set up a space in your home that is away from distractions. E. B. White tells us that there will always be distractions, because that is life. Instead of trying to get away from distractions all together, we can do our best to create a quiet environment, and learn to go beyond any other distractions that may come across our path. Other things we can do to create a calming environment is clear away clutter, have everything organised on our desk, keep our writing space out of the bedroom and place some crystals around to set the tone of the room. I keep Lepidolite near my computer so that I'm not as affected by the EMFs from spending a lot of my time typing.
Write From Joy // Henry Miller
When we sit down and write, we are performing a sacred duty. In ancient India, a whole class of people were assigned to be scribes. Ancient cultures regarded writing as an activity of the gods. When you write, write from that place of absolute joy. Go within and find what you love about the story you are creating. I use my writing as a modality to uplift and heal others. I know as long as I am writing from this place of peace, then I am staying on track.
The Desire To Write Grows With Writing // Erasmus
Repeating the action of writing allows us to write our best work. Erasmus teaches us that there will be days where we do not want to write, because our emotions fluctuate from day to day. Making writing an everyday habit allows us to continue the practice of writing, no matter how we feel. Its a bit like meditation - the days where we don't feel like meditating are the days we often need to the most. Set aside time everyday and you'll find yourself being able to move beyond writer's block.
Work On One Project At A Time // Henry Miller
This is the simplest tip, but its definitely the most powerful. Focus your mind on one project at a time, and you'll see how quickly you'll build up. I know how it feels to be overwhelmed by lots of inspiration for multiple books or articles, and that's perfectly fine, but remember to work on one project at a time. When I get an idea, I write it down in a notebook and let it be. When I'm ready to complete that project, I will have the note there.
Be Ok With Rewriting // Karen Russell
Being precious with our own writing is a form of perfectionism. We want to have it 'right' the first time, instead of allowing our ideas to morph and change. I know it can feel like a waste of time rewriting most of your piece, but trust me it isn't! Rewriting is a sign that your ideas are changing to reveal an even greater idea. Nothing is really a waste of time, it is simply another step in our path.
Be Gentle With Yourself // Henry Miller
You are doing your best in every moment, and that is enough. Buddha often said that if your kindness does not include yourself, then it is incomplete. Likewise, if your writing routine doesn't allow for breaks and time to relax, then it is incomplete. Your projects will improve drastically if you come from a place of reverence for yourself. For me, every weekend I consciously devote only 1 hour to my writing. I make sure to schedule in relaxing activities, or whatever I feel like doing, so I don't become trapped in monotony. I'm sure you'll find yourself having better ideas too, as space creates opportunities.
Writing routines change from time to time, as our life also changes. We must be willing to go with that flow of change, and alter our routine as we need it. If you're finding it too hard to stick to a particular task in your routine, then change it around and see how you go. Whenever I make changes to my routine, I go within and ask myself what I need to do in order to get the work done. Most often its not the task itself that pushes us off the wagon, but the way we approach it.