Writing is a muscle that requires exercise, but sometimes it can be difficult to find traction for our ideas to let it all flow. If your writing is starting to feel mundane, or a chore that has you procrastinating your artistic project into oblivion, here are 3 fresh ideas to help you spice up your writing life.
Form Writing Habits and Find Community
You’ve probably heard that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Some studies have actually shown it takes around 66 days. It could also be longer, since that number depends on the desired habit as well as environmental and personal factors. This makes pinpointing an exact timeframe nearly impossible.
Instead of obsessing over a particular outcome, or banking on an arbitrary magical date for self improvement, focus on making the commitment to write habitually. Making writing a habit means committing to regular practice, ideally every day. Take advantage of communities that will help you keep on track.
Idea: Writing meetups like Shut Up & Write are a great way to help you commit and find motivation. The organization is a collective of in-person meetups, with chapters all over the world. Their goal is to ensure every writer has access to the resources, community and accountability they require to be successful in their writing goals. The meetups are free and simply require showing up and writing for a prescribed amount of time. Note that in response to COVID-19 Shut Up & Go has launched a virtual chapter. So that means no excuses!
Practice Makes Perfect
We’ve all heard that age old advice “practice makes perfect”; how doing something over and over makes you better at it. Yes, it’s cliche. It’s also scientifically sound. The more we practice something the better we get at it in terms of proficiency and efficiency.
Since writing is an incredibly useful mode of communication, it is inevitable for many of us. Whether you write for a living, for creative pursuits, or just to communicate with others (or maybe a combination of all three) most people engage in writing every single day.
Sometimes we encounter difficulty in accessing our creative state, which might require gently switching off the analytical brain we use at work or with clients. If you’re writing emails all day at the office for instance, your corporate persona might accidentally hijack your poetic prose during creative writing hours. This can stifle your creative expression and even lead to writer’s fatigue.
Idea: A great way to stoke creativity is by participating in writing challenges. Not only will challenges commit you to writing regularly, but they will encourage you to write on certain topics you might otherwise not have. Many writing challenges are based around writing on predetermined prompts, with some requiring you to write on one or two keywords, while others give a few sentences of instruction.
Let Go of Unrealistic Expectations
Find liberation in letting go of unrealistic expectations. If you expect that each time you sit down to write you will produce a masterpiece, you are probably more likely to put it off. Sure, you might write an award-worthy prose (keeping sight of your dreams is important!) but be at peace with the idea that you might not.
Instead, write for pleasure.
When you shift your focus to writing for joy rather than to achieve a specific outcome, you take off the pressure. You transform the constrictive feelings of stress, frustration and potential ‘failure’ into playfulness and openness.
Approach writing with curiosity to have unexpected and authentic outcomes. Eventually the blank Word Doc staring back at you won’t feel daunting, but like an exciting opportunity for expression without judgment.
Idea: Try freewriting. Set a timer and write whatever you wish for a predetermined amount of time. Allow whatever to come, to come. You can also try Morning Pages, which is a creative exercise meant to be done first thing in the morning — 3 pages of your personal stream of consciousness, every single day.
Have you tried any of these writing tips? Let us know if you have any more ideas!
The Copy Posse