I took a Creative Writing: Fiction course in college, and one of my classmates said something that will never leave me. She complained about the coursework, stating that she liked to write when “inspiration” hit.
Ah, the mythical “inspiration.”
The truth is, “inspiration” writers aren’t career writers. If you only write when inspiration strikes, you’re likely to just give up when things get a little rough. When writer’s block finds you, you’re likely to just burn your notebooks or delete your documents and find a safer career path. The truth is that inspiration is nice, but not necessary to write. So here’s six tips on how to help you write every single day, inspiration or not.
1. Find your space
Your “space” can be anywhere. It can be at a nice, pretty wooden desk in a home office/library you designed. It can be on your couch or at your dining room table. It can be in a study room at your college. It can even be one of those little tables at Starbucks, surrounded by people and the smell of coffee. It can even be sitting on your bed by lamplight, scribbling or typing away in the dimly lit space of your bedroom. Make sure it’s a place you feel comfortable. That’s it.
2. Start with a writing prompt
Personally, writer’s block is a frequent enemy of mine. The struggle with my mental health often leaves me a little stressed about writing. That’s where writing prompts come in. I personally like to time myself for fifteen minutes and just type away on a prompt. By the time those fifteen minutes are up, I have rushed garbage, but it’s still writing. It’s a warm-up. It’s proof I can still write. So start with something small, and then get to work on whatever idea you’ve been playing with.
3. Limit distractions
It may be impossible to find a place that’s completely free of distraction, but there are some things you can do to limit distractions. If you’re not someone who works well with tons of noise, try to find a quiet spot, use ear plugs, or wear noise-canceling headphones (even a cheap pair works pretty well, mine are only $80 instead of the usual $300-$400). Avoid rooms with other people or animals. Definitely avoid a room with a TV. If you’re typing, turn off your Internet connection so you aren’t tempted to check your e-mail or Facebook.
4. Limit TV in general
I know I mentioned TV in the last one, but this can’t be stressed enough. I used to watch TV for hours each day, and my writing suffered. It basically was like the creativity was being leeched out of me. I’d sit at the computer, brain numbed from the hours of television, and I wouldn’t be able to fight through the strongest writer’s block I’d known. So please, read a book instead. Your brain will thank you.
5. Listen to music or read a book
Do something that really nurtures your creativity before you write. It may be going for a nice walk or run out in nature (or on a treadmill). It may be listening to some music from your favorite band or a band that plays songs you think your characters would enjoy. It may be reading a book and getting your mind working on novel ideas of your own. It could even be a relaxing bath. Whatever the case, do whatever gets the ideas flowing.
6. Make it a habit
All of these things only work if you do them consistently. A schedule is key. If you write best in the morning, write then. If you’re a night owl, write at night. If you only have 30 minutes a day, write for the thirty minutes. It doesn’t have to be at the EXACT same time every day, but try for it. Once you have your place and time as a habit, you’ll be prepped to write every time you sit down to do so. It’ll come easier to you. Better than waiting for “inspiration” and never getting anything done, right?
Comments or questions are all appreciated! Keep writing.