Maybe you love writing; maybe you have to write; maybe both. If you feel called to write, the first thing you need to do is start writing. Some writers have estimated that a writer begins to be himself after 400,000 words. Yikes, right? Who has time for that? When am I supposed to write, especially if I work full-time? Here are some tips I’ve picked up from inspirational authors who’ve found time when there was no time.
1. Write just after you wake. The classic solution to finding writing time is waking up early. John Gresham woke up at 4:00 AM every morning to complete his opening novel, while working full time for a law firm. The real trick, I’ve found, is heading to bed on time. That’s where the discipline comes in. The great thing about writing in the morning is that you’re in touch with your subconscious. Most writers agree that their writing “sweet spot” is somewhere between sleep and awake.
2. Write for a long time. It takes a long time to get into a writing “flow”. I usually write all my blog posts in one day. I eek the first one out, stumble a little over the second, but by the time I get to the third and fourth words come much more easily.
3. Write just before sleep. J.R.R. Tolkien completed LOTR over many, many years, mostly writing just before bed. If you absolutely cannot wake up early – and some are genetically programmed that way, I assure you – write just before bed.
4. Write after a “creative” nap. Salvador Dali is famous for his “creative naps” (okay, so he’s more famous for his art). He would sit in his chair with a pair of keys in his left hand, held above a glass plate. When he fell asleep, his keys would hit the plate and wake him back up – to him, this was perfect creative consciousness. If you can fit in a little nap in the middle of the day, consider taking the rest of your lunch break to write – that’s how J.K. Rowling complete most of Harry Potter (even though the folk-tale about writing the story on napkins in a coffee shop for lack of paper money isn’t true…sorry).
5. Write when You’re Inspired. Never miss an opportunity to take hold of inspiration. If you’re feeling in the mood to write, don’t put it off. Your brain is telling you that it’s got something to say. Sit down and write your heart out – don’t wait until your “writing time”, and never wait until “tomorrow”.
6. Write Daily. Honestly, the best way to become a better writer and write productively is by writing daily. This way, you don’t have to wait 45 minutes to get in a “flow”. Train your brain to be creative at a certain time every day, and eventually the flow comes quickly.
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