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How To Find Flow State: 7 Steps For Better Creative Writing Focus

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Hey guys, in this post I’m going to let you in on a little behind-the-scenes action on my secret copywriting process. A question I get from a lot of creatives, especially writers is… “how do you get into creative flow?”

Because, let’s get real – finding flow is absolutely critical if you’re a copywriter. No flow, no dough if you catch my drift… and don’t even get me started on writer’s block! There have been countless times I’ve sat down at my laptop to crank out some creative masterpiece and………

nada.

If this has happened to you, give me a comment below because you are NOT alone…

And I’ll do my best to help you get your flow back!!

Truth is, one of the hardest skills to master as a writer is being able to tap into flow state (or what many refer to as “being in the zone”) on demand…

In positive psychology, a flow state is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity (thanks Wikipedia).

And there’s a really great book called FLOW by Author and Psychology Prof, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi that I recommend you get your hands on that dives deeper into this subject.

I LOVE being in flow. There’s no doubt that when I’m in copywriting flow – every word I write is fun. It allows me to stay creative without overthinking or over-analyzing what I’m doing. This is why I always write copy in more than one sitting. Great copywriting skills require BOTH sides of the brain.

First, I start in creative flow, the right side of my brain, and let myself think in ink, without any rules or critique. Just pure brain dumps of mad genius.

Then, I’ll revisit what I wrote another day with my copy editor left brain activated and layer on all the marketing tactics and components of a compelling offer, all of which I cover on my YouTube Channel…

So be sure to subscribe here so you don’t miss a single video from me!

Alright, now let’s get into the good stuff shall we? Here are my 7 steps to getting in the zone!


Step 1: Identify Your Most Creative Time of The Day

We all work in different cycles and rhythms. You may get a creative surge once everyone else has gone to bed and you have zero distractions. Or, maybe you’re like me and you wake up feeling fresh and full of creativity that can be quickly squashed at the mere glance at your inbox. Whether you’re a night owl, early bird or mid-day blue jay, spend some time thinking about WHEN you feel most creative and what dampens your creative mojo. Maybe it’s distractions at home, inbox overload, pending evening plans, or looming deadlines. Identify the hours you’re most likely to be in creative flow and proceed to step #2.

Step 2: Dedicated Time-Blocking

Once you figure out when you’re most creative, protect that time fiercely! When you have a writing copy task to conquer, block that writing time in your calendar… And it should be more than an hour or 2.

Most people, myself included, can’t just snap their fingers and be in flow state. Sometimes it’ll take me an hour of creative thought and brainstorming before I even write my first sentence. So, often, I’ll block off an entire day for writing, or the first half of every day for an entire week if I’m writing a major sales piece.

Now, this time needs to be 1000% dedicated to nourishing your creative flow which means CUTTING OUT ALL DISTRACTIONS. Turn off Skype or Slack, sign out of your inbox and social media accounts and put your phone on DND. This might mean setting some expectations with your team, family and clients. I know for myself, if I wake up with the intention to write, then check my inbox, I am totally derailed and have essentially forfeited my creative time for the day because my brain has officially gone into task mode. So, the day before, I’ll let my team know that I’ll be offline and unavailable until 1pm.

Ok, now that you’ve set some creative boundaries, you can move onto…

Step 3: Set Incremental Goals

As I mentioned in step #1, I rarely write a sales page in one-sitting. In fact, that is a daunting goal that would freak anyone out and majorly hinder flow. So, when I sit down to write, my goals are always incremental based on the nature of the task and the creative energy required. Usually my goals flow like this.

  • 1. Outline Sales Page
  • 2. Research & Brainstorm The Hook
  • 3. Write The Hook (which is usually the lead-in to your sales message).
  • 4. Finalize Details of The Offer
  • 5. Write First Draft of Sales Page
  • 6. Copy Editing
  • 7. Finalize The Headlines
  • 8. Proofread
  • 10. Complete The Final Draft

If you’d like to learn more about this process and my copywriting workflow, click the bell icon on my YouTube Channel to be notified when that video is released!

Step 4: Look For Creative Inspiration Elsewhere

I don’t know about you, but for me, inspiration will seem to strike in the strangest of places – especially the shower! Something about the kinetic energy of flowing water really gets my creative juices flowing. So, if you’re experiencing any sort of writer’s block, don’t force it or get frustrated. I encourage you to do something different – read a book, listen to a podcast, get out in nature, have a shower, or switch up locations. I know for me, sometimes when working from home, I’ll find a million other things to do than sit down and write. So heading to a nearby coffee shop or co-working space can really help stir things up in that brain of mine, while removing the potential of getting distracted by busywork at home, and activate flow state.

And I’m curious to hear from you! Where do you find creative inspiration? Where is the strangest place that inspiration has struck for you? Comment below and let me know!

Now on to my favorite…

Step 5: Setup Your Creative Container

For me, writing has become a ritual that I really enjoy. If I’m at my home office, I’ll turn on my diffuser with some beautiful and calming essential oils, I’ll make a coffee or tea and have some water next to me. I turn off all my notifications and apps and even Wi-Fi if I don’t need it for research. I clear my desktop and open a word document. Then, I’ll pop on my Bose noise-cancelling headphones and play my favorite playlist on Spotify that helps get me into the zone super quickly. If I’m writing on the road or from a cafe, I’ll do all of that except bring some essential oils with me that I’ll rub on my temples and below my ears. Mmmmm ahhhhh.

The next step is super important!

Step 6: Give Yourself Some Leeway

Whatever you do, don’t start writing at the 11th hour right before a deadline unless you MUST. Even though I do believe that procrastination breeds productivity, that doesn’t apply very well to creative work in my opinion. So start early and schedule more writing blocks than you think you might need. Because, let’s be honest, there WILL be times you sit down to write and, no matter what you try, focus and flow is a no-go. So go easy on yourself and if you’re experiencing creative blocks, step away if you need to. Part of this flexibility also means taking full advantage of creativity when it does decide to strike, even if it’s inconvenient. I’ve been known to cancel plans if I suddenly find myself in creative flow #sorrynotsorry, a girl’s gotta write!

Step 7: Practice, Practice, Practice

The more you do it, the easier it’ll be. Setting up your creative container will become an anchoring ritual that will eventually train your brain to know it’s writing time. You’ll learn to listen to the cues your mind gives you and know when to lean in and when to give yourself some breathing room. Remember, writing should be fun so don’t let it ever get you to the point of frustration. I’ll be the first to admit sometimes this feels A LOT harder than others but repetition and compassion is the key to your success.

 

Watch This Instead

 

So, there you have it! My 7 steps for getting into creative flow. Please comment and share this post if you found it helpful!

Enjoy and see you next week! Till then, I’m Alex. Ciao for now!

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