Finding Your Flow

Finding Your Flow

This month is a month of preparation!  Did you all know that?  Are you getting prepared?  I see you all nodding your head like…

Thankfully we are not preparing an overthrow of the monarchy instead, I have been -and you should be – preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo this July!  Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I have mixed feelings about NaNoWriMo, but what I love about it is it encourages authors to prioritize writing.  So, this month is full of tips on how to do that.

Kayla our guru on all writing events, who is even more pumped for July than I am, is going to blog about “Getting back into Writing” later in the month, so today I am going to talk to you about the most magical part of the physical act of writing:  Finding your flow.

Writing flow is this mystical place where the words spill from your fingers onto the page. There is no delay between thinking ideas and writing them out, distractions can’t grab your attention and the concept of time just slips away entirely.  This state is when your best material is created and when you are most productive as a writer.

Other people experience this sensation of flow as well.  Musicians, artists, chefs, and even the everyday office worker have all been known to experience this flow from time to time.  Athletes call this sensation – getting in the zone.

Alright enough with the Disney references.  My point is literally anyone can enter into this mode of focus and ultra creativity, the key is figuring out tricks to get you into the mode/zone/flow quickly, or at least often.  Side bar in the super nerdy direction, there is a great Ted Radio Hour on NPR “The Source of Creativity” that is about just that, where creativity comes from.  I would highly recommend you give it a listen if the science behind creativity is at all exciting to you.

Though I am far from living the dream of entering into a state of flow every time I pick up my writing, I do have a rhythm I use to encourage the flow to make an appearance.

First, I gotta’ go to my Writing Space.This used to be just a chair, but since moving from an apartment to a house a month or so ago I now have an entire writing room.  It’s pretty much the Bat Cave meets the library from Beauty and the Beast and it has helped me find my flow SO MUCH!  The door to the room is obviously a big plus, but there is science behind this too.  When I only use that room for writing or reading, my brain builds an association, or a neuron pathway, connecting those activities.  Once that pathway is established my brain has already entered writing mode by the time I’ve booted up my lap top, how’s that for cool.  Now, this only works if you keep your writing room sacred and resist the urge to do other activities in that space.  Seriously, don’t browse the internet, or check your e-mails, or even take naps.  For maximum impact your writing room needs to be about writing end of story.

Once I am in my Bat Cave of bookishness to keep myself from straying towards the black hole that is the internet I immediately turn on my Writing Music (more brain pathways!) and open up my writing, usually once the page is in front of me I am drawn towards it like my dog to a mud puddle.  I am aware that setting my writing to music is not a unique idea.  But, it is such an important element of my writing that I couldn’t ignore its presence in my writing routine.  Not only does music set the mood, and provide creativity, it also helps drown out the little part of my brain that is being a distraction thinking about practical things like groceries and dishes and bills, yuck!  Another fantastic power of music that I have been discovering is its ability to take down the walls of writer’s block.  If you’ve been writing to the same genre of music for a while and have been feeling stuck, try listening to something totally different.  Switch from rock to country, or from polka to heavy metal, the change in styles will spike your creativity and help you push through.

Now I’m set, I’m in my room, the document is open and my tunes are bumpin’, time to start writing right?  Wrong!  I always need some sort of Writing Warm-Up.  Just like athletes need to warm up before a game, writers need to warm up their creativity for a session.  When I don’t have a lot of time this is usually a quick read through of what I wrote the day before (lame).  When I do have time I:  Write a scene summary, read an article about writing on Pinterest, write a blog post, brainstorm character names, or do a simple writing exercise or prompt.  I don’t always do these warm up activities, but when I do, I feel more focused with my writing.  What’s more is my writing turns out so much better than when I just jump in cold.

That’s the essence of my writing routine, it’s not fancy, it’s not complicated but it’s what works to help me find my flow.  This routine also helps me to stay in the habit of writing which is pretty darn important too.

Since this is also my last post before July starts, I want to let all of you readers know my writing goals for July.  As you’ve probably heard me say 100 times by now, my current project is in an editing phase.  NaNoWriMo is all about word count goals which is great for getting first drafts done, but not good at all for editing. So, I am not setting a word count goal.  Instead, I am making a time commitment goal.  I want to spend 10 hours a week writing.   This is a big goal for me, I have a full-time job so this is like adding an extra day to my work week.  I am excited about this goal though and I can’t wait to see what I will accomplish in my writing next month!

Be on the lookout for Kayla’s blog post two weeks from now (seriously it’s a good one guys) and be sure to check out other areas of the website.  Our Pinterest is up and running and there are new writing events coming up as well.

Stay Amazing my friends.

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