Thursday, April 24, 2014

Fall into the Rabbit Hole -- 7 Tips to Get You Writing

When you tap into the creative side and the words pour out of you, it's euphoric—it's what I term "falling into the rabbit hole"—and it's even more magical than Alice in Wonderland It's a kind of rush you can't get enough of and it seems it's something you can never truly prepare yourself for—or can you?

Maybe you've been struggling with a manuscript or it's just finding the time to write. Maybe you're not sure about what comes next and you procrastinate to the point you haven't written in days. Part of you might feel like crawling under a rock and proclaiming your work in progress stalled to the point that you hide behind "writer's block."  I'm here to tell you there's no such thing as "writer's block," per se, it's another procrastination excuse invented by writers.

Of course, there are times that things come up in our writing that leave us wondering what the next step should be. It's possible we step back for a day or two to assess the plot. There is nothing wrong with this, in fact, I believe it's part of a healthy writing process. But, when that day or two becomes days, a week, a month, then you've fallen off track. You're using the excuse of "writer's block."

How can you overcome these moments and "fall into the rabbit hole?"

1. Make time to write.

It's been said that you make time for what's important to you. How important is your writing? We all have other responsibilities in life—a family to care for, a house, and most writers have a full-time day job as well. BUT, here's the key: if writing is important to you, you will find the time.

2. Section off a larger allotment of time.

When you sit and write a couple hundred words, you've just started to tap open the creative side of your brain—then it's over. Now, if you sit knowing that you have an hour (or more) to write undisturbed, it's easier to relax into it.

3. Stop editing as you go.

If typing errors are glaring at you from Word, red squiggles everywhere, turn the feature off. If it's more less you are backspacing to rephrase and rework, you're halting the creative process. You're telling your creative side that it's not all right to let go. That's the opposite of what you want. Let the words flow naturally as they come to you. There will be plenty of time for editing later.

4. Give your characters creative license.

Characters are, after all, what give you book a true pulse. Let them be who they are. Don't assign them borders in the ways they respond or react to any given situation. Follow them on their journey and the results will be natural. I find when I do this, these are some of the most rewarding writing sessions.

5. Be flexible.

Part of letting go entails flexibility. Be flexible with both time and plot.

For example, if you really prefer to write in the morning but don't have the time until the evening, don't say, 'oh another day is lost,' write at night. If your plot is taking you on a detour, follow it through. You owe your creativity that much.

6. Turn off distractions.

Let go of your stresses and anxiety from life. This is your time to write. Do it.

Some writers like to listen to music, but I find it a distraction. Unless the music is key to tapping into a character's mindset, I suggest trying silence while you write. I find it easier to 'fall into the rabbit hole' that way.

7. Just write.

There are times I don't even know what I'm going to write when I sit down. I let my characters lead me and set out on that adventure. I find when I don't put pressure on myself, worry about the clock, stress over word count, but just go with the flow, the 'rabbit hole' opens naturally.