Changing Your Mindset: How to Enjoy Writing

Greetings, friends!

If you’ve read my posts before you may have intuited that in the past I have really struggled with writing. Or more accurately, the process of writing. I don’t think I’m unique in this—many writers find the most difficult part of writing to be the part where you just sit down and start. That’s certainly the case for me, and for years the very thought of sitting down to write has filled me with dread. Not exactly a great reaction, is it? Especially since once I’m actually writing I tend to enjoy myself. So what’s the deal with the starting part?

Recently I’ve had a kind of breakthrough on that front, and the silly thing is that it turned out to be so simple. These tips may even be ones you’ve heard a hundred times before. I know I had…but I’d never tried them. So if you’re struggling with getting your backside in the chair and haven’t given these a go, maybe they’ll help you too.

The too long;didn’t read version of it is this: I made writing time something I looked forward to by keeping things clean and creating a cozy experience for myself. If you want more details on exactly what I did then by all means read on, friends. Read on.

1. Clean up your space.

This is probably the least fun of my tips, but also one of the more effective. I am one of those people who finds it much easier to focus on something if I don’t have clutter around me. If you find inspiration in the clutter, by all means keep it around! But my desk is often my lunch table, and in a house with a cat and two dogs it can get pretty furry as well. A quick wipe down of my desk and a few minutes to put used dishes and other assorted things back in their places gives me a clean slate to set up a soothing writing space. It takes almost no time and makes such a difference. (Extra tip: invest in some cleaning supplies that you love the smell of. It makes it less of a chore.)

2. Ditch the overhead light and get some candles.

IMG_6675 (2)

This has been a game changer. No longer do I sit in an over-lit box or hunch in a dark room before the bright square of my screen. Lighting a candle or two before I start to write has become a habit now, and something about it tells my brain its time to both get cozy, and to write. During the summer I used a yummy peach-scented candle that I loved, but now that the weather is cooling off (it’s not actually cooling off here quite yet…but I can dream!) I’ve switched to this warm autumnal candle. I’ve long associated candles with relaxation and comfortable nights in, so this really did the trick when it came to making a mental switch with my writing nights.

3. Put on that perfect playlist.

Dnd music

Some people can’t write with music, and I totally get that. I am not one of those people. Nothing gets me in the mood to dive back into my stories faster than a playlist I’ve put together based on my characters or the “feel” of my book. I’ve always listened to music when I write, so this isn’t technically a new trick I’ve implemented. But in combination with the other tips, it’s a perfect storm (in a good way). There is one new thing I have started doing, though: I find one song that encapsulates the story I’m working on and listen to it the whole way through before I start to write. It really helps me get out of my head and refocus on why I’m doing this crazy writing thing in the first place.

4. Get some tasty treats to enjoy.

IMG_6668 (2)

I write at night, so the level of hunger I have varies a lot from day to day. Often I’ll grab a bowl of popcorn (a personal favorite), a bit of chocolate, or a plate of sliced apples. But usually I’ll just make myself some tea or cocoa—it counts as a snack for me. I always feel cozy and happy with a hot mug o’ something in my hands, and I love treating myself to a tasty night of writing. Something about grabbing those snacks makes it feel like a movie night instead of a writing night…and in some ways, that’s not totally wrong, is it? We’re just in charge of the action that we see in our own imaginations. In any case, I definitely recommend giving your tum a little love with something tasty. And if your mug just so happens to remind you to get to work, all the better! 😉

These changes to my writing routine have honestly made writing something to look forward to. And keep in mind, if these ideas don’t light up that happy little place in your chest, find the things that do and see if you can bring those into your writing routine. It makes writing time double as “me-time,” a trick that I’ve found to be really effective to get me to quit avoiding writing. Hope something here helps you if you’ve had the same struggle!

Let me know what routines you have to get your writing self going!

Happy writing, friends!

sig

Advertisements

2 Comments

  1. Enjoying writing is so very crucial! I agree with your tips, especially that first one. I’ll confess: I hired someone to clean my house for me, because I am good at many things, but cleaning is not one of them. She’s not a maid – I still have to pick up after myself and do the basics. But she comes in while I’m at work and does all the chemical-y cleaning I can’t do. I work a lot, so this also allowed me to have TIME to write, instead of spending my limited free time cleaning (slowly, because I suck at it…). To pay for this, I had to give up some other stuff, but those really benefitted my writing as well. I got rid of my cable TV, which was almost enough to pay for the cleaning lady itself. I also cut down on spending by getting my books and DVDs from the library. Yes, that’s right. I don’t buy books! AND I AM YET LIVING. 😉 Okay, I sometimes use trade credit at used bookstores, but I digress. She comes on Friday, and I write on the weekends. It made such a huge difference to have a clean, welcoming space to work in.
    I want to add a supplemental tip to your suggestion for candles: get rid of the clocks. I use candles to give my space a softly lit atmosphere, and I turn the clock off on my laptop. I sit where I can’t see the clocks, so I can’t see that I’ve spent an hour writing only a few words and get frustrated with myself. I go to bed when I get tired. It’s really helped take a lot of the pressure off and helped my writing become an enjoyable evening experience.
    Thanks for sharing your tips!

    Like

    1. I love the clock suggestion! In the past—and actually I guess I still do this sometimes—I have used the clock as an excuse to be done. If 2-3 hours had passed I’d just stop writing, regardless of whether I accomplished the goal I had in mind or, even worse, was still feeling creative and inspired. Something about the clock makes me treat writing like I treat my (paid by the hour) job—just get to the end of your hours and call it good. I don’t do this as much now that I’ve made writing time a treat, but it definitely still happens. And it’s doubly bad when, like you mentioned, you see that in all that time you didn’t get as much done as you hoped. I’m going to try turning off the clocks next time. Thanks for the tip!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s