Creativity,  The Writing Life,  writing tips

Rise and Shine, Writers!

I usually find that first thing in the morning my mind is sharper, which is my excuse for leaving the household tasks until after I’ve done some writing. Who knew there was a scientific explanation behind this practice? Science tells us it is that foggy time between sleeping and waking, that the creative mind works best.

  “We know that the creative mind is an early riser and that the editing mind sleeps in.”  Kevan Lee,  The Best Time to Write and Get Ideas – According to Science. And it doesn’t end there. Apparently there are best times for all sorts of activities. Like, exercising between 3pm and 6pm. Huh.

You may well ask, then, “How does that fit into the whole writing in the spaces idea? ” I mean, isn’t the point to simply write whenever you have a few free moments? Well, yes. And, no. Knowing that those early morning hours are precious for the creativity process, it may be worth getting up an extra hour or two early for the first draft kinds of writing and the generation of ideas. Later in the day, may be a better time to work on edits and revisions or doing further research.

If time is limited, which it is for the majority of us, then we need to get the most from each block of time. Perhaps the Muse isn’t as fickle as we imagined!

So, what else can you do to give yourself a higher chance of success ?  For athletes, being “in the zone” means that they have moved into that sweet spot where they are able to maximize their abilities resulting in peak performance. What does it mean for Creatives to be “in the zone?” Here are a couple of tips I have learned along the way: 

1. Make it a habit to write every day, if possible at the same time of day. Your brain clicks in much more quickly that it’s writing time if you are consistent. “In writing, habit seems to be a much stronger force than either willpower or inspiration.” John Steinbeck 

2. Don’t think about how much work is ahead or how you will accomplish it. Write something. Anything. Even if it is not good. Sometimes the best ideas will pop up out of the blue, in the midst of the drivel. If any of us thought about how much work was still ahead when we begin a long project like a novel, we would never write a word. “Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day; it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.” JohnSteinbeck, —From a letter to Robert Wallsten,


In your notebook, begin a section for lists. You can choose your own topic for the lists. Here are a few of my favourites to get you started:

  1. Things you know without asking
  2. Secrets you have been asked to keep
  3. Places you like to eat.
  4. Favourite moments
  5. Places you have been
  6. Recurring dreams
  7. In the back of the closet
  8. Friends
  9. The taste of sorrow
  10. Regrets

Have fun with your notebook!

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