How to Crack the Hard Chocolaty Coating of the Writing Doldrums

We all face ups and downs. It’s inevitable. Sometimes we are riding high on the wave of inspiration, and sometimes we feel weighed down by our own sludgy ideas and lousy writing.

I’ve been there.

Over the years, I have tried all sorts of things: writing in the evenings, writing in the mornings, more coffee, writing while on recreational substances, yoga postures, breathwork, meditation, “meditation,” writing prompts, deadlines, collaborations, etc.

The approach that works most reliably for me is… consistent freewriting.

Maybe you have your own tricks and techniques to help you through a tough time.

Consistent freewriting — that is, the daily practice of freewriting in some form or another — revolutionized my writing process.

The effect of a single session might not be mindblowing, though it will prove beneficial. Don’t judge yourself too harshly if a single round of freewriting doesn’t instantly make an impact.

Over time there will be greater rewards to reap.

With freewriting, consistency is key.

One word might not change your life. Neither will a single sentence. But one hundred sentences every day for a hundred days will make a dent in your daily reality.

When you freewrite consistently, you form a working relationship with the flow state. It becomes something that remains in the background of your attention span whether you’re writing or not. For the rest of the day, the flow state will be that much more accessible regardless of where you find yourself or what you find yourself doing.

We all get pulled towards distractions or obligations, job related duties, and so on. It happens. What matters is that you get back on track.

Freewrite in the morning = easy way to start an inner creative revolution

The central thing is to put the most important stuff at the beginning of your day. Just after you wake, head towards what you want the most, the things that enrich you and fill your tanks.

What about if it’s impossible to freewrite in the morning?

Firstly, it isn’t impossible.

But if it feels like it, then squeeze it in somewhere else in the day’s margins.

Whether you want to iron in a guaranteed evening freewrite or a late night session, just make the agreement with yourself that you will be consistent with it.

Do it daily. It will change your life.

How long do you have to do it before you notice a shift in your daily center of gravity?

My experience with starting new habits often goes like this:

For the first handful of days: total enthusiasm, madness and satisfaction. Everything is awesome and I love everything about my new habit.

Then maybe a couple of weeks later things shift a bit. It starts to feel routine.

I keep at it.

There are spikes. Some days are wildly amazing and they remind me of why I adopted the habit in the first place.

Some days I secretly want to abandon the project entirely. It doesn’t always seem shiny and new like all these other ideas or excuses.

Other obligations rear their heads and I become tempted to make time for them rather than my old beat-up habit of freewriting in the morning.

But I keep going. I check in with my deepest wants and desires and I push away the excuses.

What makes all the difference is that you soldier onwards in the face of these things that come up.

They offer all sorts of good advice. Oh, it’s true, there are so many other pressing demands. It won’t hurt to make an exception just this once. Or maybe you can shift it up, try doing a bit less.

Excuses present an opportunity to learn something about yourself. When you stay true to what you really want, you have a good vantage point for seeing different sides of yourself.

You are not your excuses.

And you are not less of a person because you feel pulled by them. Everyone has similar struggles!

What makes people like you different is that they are always ready to get back up on the horse and ride, ride, ride.

Or rather: write, write, write.

How to do this

My suggestion: keep it simple. Set aside ten minutes, twenty minutes. During that time, write without stopping. Or set yourself a word count to hit. A thousand words.

See what happens not only when you try it, but when you stick with it.

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