Tools for Your Writing Practice

Since all writers often experience resistance at facing the blank page it helps to find a pattern in the physical world that can assist you in crossing the threshold into the writing mind. Here are some the elements for you to consider.

Implements: People often ask me when they sign up for one of my writing classes, whether it is best to write with a pen or a computer. The answer, of course, is to find what works best for you.. Some people like the feel of the pen moving across the page. Others, who are fast on the keyboard, sense they can keep up with the flow of ideas more easily that way. If you write with a pen chances are you will find a favorite and stick with it. I write all my first drafts with a rolling ball pen with black ink and a good grip and then revise on the computer.

Ritual: Writing calls for us to enter a different state of mind than our everyday way of thinking, so it helps to use some kind of ritual to signal to the muse or the subconscious that a shift is called for. The most elaborate ritual I’ve heard of came from a poet who wrote only in the mid to late afternoon, in an easy chair, in his pajamas with one cat on his lap. Mine is more simple. I write first thing in the morning before I do anything else, except make my ritual single cup of coffee. I then sit down with it along with my favorite pen to see what want my attention.

Location: I used to have to leave the house and go out for coffee in order to write because I found it easier to face the blank page free from the phone calls that needed to be returned or the toilet bowl that called out for cleaning. Writing is an inherently isolated activity and I like to feel of being part of the world when I do it. I find comfort in the bustle of a cafe that seems to keep my more critical mind occupied while I slip beneath the radar into the creative mind. Other people need complete quiet. It can also be help to set up space in your home just for writing. If you don’t have a room, how about a corner of the bedroom or some other room where you are unlikely to interrupted.

Time: A lot of people write first thing in the morning before they do anything else, while their mind is still close to the dream state and can more easily tap the creative flow which has a similar feel. Doing it first thing makes your creativity a priority. It’s easier to show up for it before you get caught up in the events of the day. Still if you are not a morning person, figure out which part of the day works best. I suggest you write the time in your day planner and get in the habit of showing up on a regular basis, even if it’s only for twenty minutes, even on the days you feel resistance or uninspired. Inspiration only arrives after you have started writing.

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