How do you make the most of every one of your writing sessions?
We’ve all pledged to write one page a day, or to write 40,000 words in a month. We’ve tried turning off our notifications and social media on our desktops, laptops and smartphones to simply spend one hour of uninterrupted time writing. That’s great! There’s just one problem…
You’re still stuck and struggling to persevere through the long and creative process of writing a book. Wherever you are in your writing journey, here are some actionable pieces of advice that are broken down to help writers of all levels of experience. It’s time to shift your perspective and help you make the most of each of your writing sessions.
1. Calm your mind down for a moment by taking three long deep breaths. Close your eyes, place one hand on your heart and the other hand on your lower abdominal, inhale deeply and exhale fully (repeat three times). Once your mind stops mentally critiquing your work, listen to your heart and feel for what you are writing.
2. Distractions are our inner critics telling us we are not good enough. Try setting aside thirty minutes every day to write and carve this time out as a sacred space for your creativity to flow. Become fully present while writing and as you become more immersed and write consciously, you’ll find yourself setting boundaries against external and internal distractions. Sometimes, in those thirty minutes you will write 1,000 words and other times, it maybe just 300 words. Instead of pushing yourself to reach an unachievable goal under pressure every day, just relax. When you are mindful and relaxed during your writing sessions, your words flow more smoothly. Just let go.
3. Helping ourselves be creative as writers is not always as hard as we might think, we can, of course, challenge ourselves to try new things, explore new ideas and try new writing places, all of these can help with the flow of new ideas aiding our creative process immensely. But a very simple method to encourage creativity is resting right under our noses. Essential oils have long been known to be able to elicit an emotional response in many of us, helping to uplift our mental attitude all of which can be a great aid in helping with the creative process of writing. Invoke a focused and concentrated state to write from by calming and centring the mind. The following essential oils have traditionally been used to improve mental clarity, concentration and focus:
4. Pairing writing with yoga poses leads to your deepest insights and wisdom. Through yoga, you access what lies beneath the surface of your mind, and through writing, you integrate these surprises. Stress in the body can block creativity. Yoga can help release the physical pain and when the tensions of the body are eased, so are the tensions of the mind. Give yourself just a few minutes each day to relax and realign your body and mind.
Here are two simple stretches you can perform sitting right at your desk that will promote calm and clarity:
• Seated Cat/Cow
This stretches the entire spine and improves spinal mobility. Begin by sitting up straight in a chair. Roll your shoulder blades back and down, arms relaxed at your sides. Pull your belly button into your spine to engage your abs, and keep your feet flat on the floor, if possible. As you inhale, arch your back leading with the chest, and look up toward the ceiling. Lift the chin and allow your arms to relax next to you. As you exhale, round your spine and let your head drop forward. Tuck the chin and allow your shoulders to roll. Repeat five times, moving fluidly from cat to cow with each breath.
• Seated Eagle Arms
This stretch targets the wrists and the space in between the shoulder blades. Begin by sitting up straight in a chair. Roll your shoulder blades back and down, arms relaxed at your sides. Pull your belly button in to your spine to engage your abs, and keep your feet flat on the floor, if possible. Extend your arms out in front of you at 90-degree angles, palms facing each. Then place your right arm under your left and press the backs of your palms together. Inhale and sit tall, then exhale and tuck your chin to your chest to stretch the back of the neck. Hold the pose for five breaths, then switch arms and stay another five breaths.
(As a little extra addition, here are some exercises you can do without even leaving your chair: 8 Seated Yoga Poses You Can Do from a Chair | SparkPeople, click here.)
• To finish, sit tall at the back of your seat with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Rest your hands on your thighs, palms facing up. Take five deep breaths as you close your eyes and allow the mind to open. You may feel a sense of inner peace and calm come over you. You may also have more energy and more clarity to get some great writing done.
And always remember to allow yourself to love your writing sessions, and you’ll love the words you write, too.
Written by Natasha Gilmour