02 May 7 Ways To Find Writer’s Flow
Fun fact: I started journaling when I was seven years old. I actually still have my Rainbow Fish diary from the 90s. The first entry says: “Dear diary, I had the funnest day of my life. After school, I went to the museum. Then I ate dinner at Luby’s.” Clearly, I haven’t always been a strong writer.
At that age, I didn’t have a computer and I had no clue what the internet was. I didn’t know that one day I’d be sharing the things I wrote with friends, family, and complete strangers. I didn’t know that people could make money by sharing the same thoughts they wrote in their journal. I didn’t care whether or not I was good at writing. I simply knew that I liked putting my thoughts in a place somewhere outside of my mind.
Since I’ve been writing for almost my entire life, it comes naturally to me. Talent is usually more the result of consistent practice rather than natural ability. If I didn’t make writing a part of my daily life at a young age, I don’t think it would come as easily to me now. I write all the time, even when I’m not sitting down in front of a screen or notepad. I write when I’m driving, cooking, or exercising. I started writing this article in my head on the way home from work today.
Although it comes naturally to me, I don’t consider writing my strength. I consider it my craft. It’s something that I exercise constantly. It’s an art that is perfected with practice. Many writers deal with what we call perfection paralysis. We believe that if what we write isn’t perfect, it’s not good enough. We write, read, and edit until our eyes are red and our spirits are sore. We obsess over comma placement and formatting and how many syllables each word has as if our how-to listicle were a haiku.
Many writers feel that if they’re not in flow when they write it means that their work is trash no matter how beautiful it may read to someone else. But flow is hard to find and impossible to reach without a lot of practice and patience. Unfortunately, many writers find the practice to be exhausting and without patience, it can lead to burnout. Here are 7 ways to find writer’s flow.
7 Ways to Find Writer’s Flow
- Just write. Don’t censor your words. Put every thought in your head on paper and don’t let your mind think about whether or not it will be published.
- Journal every day. If you can’t bring yourself to write creatively or professionally every day, at the very least journal. I find that journaling also helps inspire ideas that I can write about later.
- Go on a walk. Or a run or a bike ride. I have some of my best creative ideas when I take the time to step outside and away from the keyboard.
- Take a break. If writing is burning you out, take a break for as long as you need to (unless your job depends on meeting deadlines, of course). Even a quick break to clear your mind is sometimes better than trying to write through burnout. Relax, rejuvenate, and come back ready to start fresh.
- Write now, edit later. I often try to write and edit a blog post within the same period of time and it ends up exhausting me. By the time I’m done editing, I’ve usually gotten lazy, missed several things, and ended up needing to come back to fix them the next day anyway. After you’ve completed a piece, take a break and come back to edit with fresh eyes.
- Read A LOT. Reading and writing go hand in hand. I get inspiration from reading books, blogs, and publications related to the same topics I enjoy writing about. I also read many things completely unrelated to anything I would write about and those things give me ideas, too. This is one reason I create and share the Weekly Top 3 posts every Friday.
- Don’t expect flow. Flow shouldn’t be the expectation when it comes to writing. Understand that as with anything that we practice consistently, it will be hard sometimes and every day will be different. Many experts say that flow is not always the ideal. Sometimes progress needs to be slow in order to be right.
What strategies do you use to find your writer’s flow? Share yours in the comments.