Tips for Helping You Show Up to Your Writing

In writing, habit seems to be a much stronger force than either willpower or inspiration. Consequently, there must be some little quality of fierceness until the habit pattern of a certain number of words is established. There is not possibility. . .of saying, I’ll do it if I feel like it. – John Steinbeck

Woody Allen said that ninety five percent of life is showing up. This is especially true when it comes to our writing. If you have a hard time showing up as consistently as you would like, give yourself permission to return to picking up the thread of your work just a little bit at a time. Lower your standards on what you think you should be able to accomplish.

Be willing to forgive yourself for all the times you have failed to show up to your work. Honor that there will likely always be a part of you who wants to write and a part of you that is resistant to the letting go that is required to really engage the creative mind. This can be very liberating.

Writing is not unlike training to run a marathon. You start out running a few blocks and you work your way up each day to the full twenty six miles. In your writing this can translate into doing “freewriting” or stream of consciousness writing for ten minutes a day for a month then building up to showing up for longer periods of time where you also play with the art of revision and work on finishing a piece.

In working with my students and coaching clients I focus in part on learning to fall in love with the process and to find joy in simply showing up to the creative work. Then the writing becomes it’s own reward, free of the expectations of what we think it needs to be and we learn to allow what wants to be born out of our creative spirit.

Author Ray Bradbury keeps a file of opening lines and titles of stories yet to be written. Try this. Make a list of all the stories within you that really want to be told. Then pick one and write on the theme for at least ten minutes a day for a week (or better yet for a month) and see how that feels.

Have it be okay that some of what you write may feel uninspired. It all counts as practice that helps you to develop the habit to showing up to your work and evolve your own writing voice and style. The more you show up the more likely you are to hit the zone where your creativity really starts to flow and magic happens.

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