Fanning The Flames of Your Writing
It's the state we all desire—that white-hot obsessiveness when we're madly throwing words on the page, totally at one with the moment, completely absorbed in our creativity. But sometimes it is not so easy to get to this state. Is it even possible to access on a regular basis? My answer is yes—but you may not want to. Read on to learn some ways to coddle and encourage your white-hot writing, as well as when to aim for it and when not.
1. Know That Creativity is a Cycle
Sometimes you're writing in that white-hot heat I described above and others you're in a more sedate mode. The quieter moments are no less valuable, they are just different. While it would be wonderful to write in a white-hot heat every time you sat down at the page, you'd also burn yourself out very quickly. So aim for the intense sessions part of the time, perhaps during rough draft writing.
2. Appreciate Where You Are
Each stage holds its own gifts. Rough draft work, where you're most apt to be transported away, encompasses the thrill of discovery. But other stages such as editing and rewriting allow you the joy of reshaping and honing your work. Each writing process offers its own rewards.
3. Stay Connected.
Utilize the concept of momentum to power your writing and you'll experience more white-hot states. Keep your Work-in-Progress uppermost in your mind. Work on it as often as possible. Re-read it often. Take notes about it and brainstorm in your journal writing. Keep your project file open on the computer and sneak over and write a few lines during the day.
4. Train Like An Athlete
Sleep, rest, meditate, exercise, eat well. Your brain and your body are your instruments when you're a writer, so take good care of them. It does you no good to stay up late in a white-hot writing session because you'll just crash and burn the next day. Aim for balance. (I know, I know. It can be a goal, a work in progress.)
5. Refill the Well
Yes, I know your creativity fills you up and energizes you. But when you're working on a long project, it also drains you. That inner creative well needs constant replenishing, just the way your body needs more water (and lots of it) every day. Refresh and renew your creative spirit by doing things you love, like taking a hike with your dog, or visiting an art gallery.
You're looking to make a creative life for the long run here, not just blazing progess on one project and then a huge collapse. These tips ought to help with that goal.
How do you refill your well? How do you fan the flames of your WIP? I'm all ears.
Photo by John-p.