Creative Writing Writing 101 2018-06-28 00:00

How to Train Your Writing Mind


Writing is easy; thinking is hard.

Well, more accurately: writing with a purpose is hard.

Acclaimed author Neil Gaiman put it nicely, "This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard, and you put one word after another until it's done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”

In this article, we'll discuss how to get ready and how to train the mind, so writing gets easier gradually. However, first of all, we'll uncover the things that have been hindering you from writing in the first place.

  1. Obstacles to Writing
  2. Preparation to Write
  3. Daily Training

Obstacles to Writing

If you're still working a 9-to-5 job, you may have limited hours in a day to work on your writing. Lack of time is a common obstacle to writing.

There are several other blocks that you'll need to both acknowledge and remove from the equation. Let's take a look at each in turn.

Not Enough Time to Read

In his memoir, On Writing, Stephen King once wrote, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”

As a writer, words are your raw materials, which you'll find in your mind and other people's works. From the latter, you'll learn to discern the good pieces of writing from the bad.

Not Disciplined Enough

Writing doesn't come naturally. It requires you to be actively thinking about and typing down specific ideas. Moreover, these activities must be executed consciously with discipline.

Once you've decided to spend 10, 15, or 30 minutes to write, stick with the appointment with yourself. Be disciplined.

Too Distracted

Remove both external and internal distractions before starting to write. External distractions can be quite easy to rid of, such as moving from a noisy environment to a quiet one. Internal distractions, like the urge to check emails and Twitter every five minutes, can be harder to eliminate. However, it must be done.

No Writing Goals

Setting an achievable goal will help you write.

You can set 15 to 20 minutes for one block of free writing. Alternatively, you can set a 500-word day as the writing goal. If you've just started out, perhaps 250 to 300 words per day would be good enough.

Preparation to Write

The clearer the mind, the better the writing. Do the best you can to achieve mental clarity, which means having balanced health, both physically and emotionally. This requires strong discipline, including staying away from things that could cloud the mind and deteriorate the body, such as opioids, alcohol, and sleeping late.

Stay Fresh

Sleep for at least eight hours every night with no exception. If needed, take brief naps during the day. Sometimes 10 to 15-minute rests are all you need to stay fresh enough to produce insightful works. Learn to listen to your body and mind, so you know when it's time to stop and take a break.

Get into Theta State

When your brain is in Theta state, which is in between waking and sleeping, you're in the perfect state for creative ideas. Stay there as long as possible.

You can listen to guided-meditation soundtracks for this purpose. There are many YouTube videos you can use to try out tracks before buying them. Once the brain is in Theta state, you can expect to write with better flow.

Daily Training

The daily writing grind turns occasional writing into a habit. The activity itself is special, but not too special that you must wait for inspiration first. Training yourself that writing is an appointment is the first step to making it an integral part of your life.

Ideas are Everywhere

Acknowledge that you don't need a muse to work on that piece because ideas are everywhere. You live and breathe in the ocean of ideas, which are ready to be re-explained, re-analyzed, and re-written. Learn to see things with a writer's "eyes."

Create Achievable Goals

When you've set a goal to write 300 words per day, get to work without thinking much. Let your fingers type words freely and fearlessly without judgment. You can always revise and edit later after the goal has been met.

Find and Stay in the Flow

Learn to find and stay in the flow as long as possible with no distractions. When you're in this mental state, you can create masterpieces. But it takes practice to master it.

Last but not least, training your writing mind requires a commitment to yourself and your craft. Don't feel obliged to create anything substantial, because when your subconscious is free, the state of flow will help in producing the best works. Free yourself from any distractions and focus on your work in a relaxed way. Every single day.

Be confident about grammar

Check every email, essay, or story for grammar mistakes. Fix them before you press send.