I’d like to tell you that if you sit at your antique writing desk and gaze with soft focus into the artfully wild garden beyond the French doors, your creativity will be triggered. However, pausing to allow reality to kick in, most of us writers are juggling time and space with work, life, and family commitments. The washing-up and bill paying aside, it’s enough to wither creative thoughts at birth.
Creative flow is like any skill, the more you practice, the better it gets and the more reproducible it is. To write consistently, writing craft must be nurtured, and the creative muscle in your brain has to be exercised too. No-one expects to play Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto by sitting at a piano and waiting for the inspiration to strike, the most they’d manage is chopsticks. Writing is the same.
So, let me share some of the ideas that have helped me and may help you to exercise the flow by creating a writing routine.
Set up your workstation in preparation with all you’ll need. Don’t forget your glasses and a drink. Where are your glasses? Sorry, I can’t help you there. As a health practitioner and relaxation coach, I’m a great believer in breath work to get oxygen to the brain and focus the mind. It also acts as a commitment to beginning, drawing a line between life in general and writing time.
Start by sitting comfortably but in an upright posture. Now breath in slowly through the nose allowing your stomach to expand and your ribcage to widen. At the top of the breath pause and count to three in your mind. Now breath out on a soft ‘Aaaaah’ sound. At the bottom of the breath, pause and count to three. Repeat the breath three times.
Now close your eyes and imagine your mind expanding, broadening, touching the sky. Feel the blue sky, the lightness of the air, the softness of clouds passing. Let your thoughts float by untethered as you enjoy the freedom of infinite possibilities. Enjoy that feeling for as long as you’re comfortable and then gradually draw back into your body and into your workspace.
You’re focused and ready to begin.
Open a notebook or journal and warm up your writing muscles for five minutes- write anything, doesn’t have to make sense - can be what you see and hear, random thoughts, the words of a song, how you’re feeling. But just write.
Lastly, getting more structured, write one to two hundred words from a prompt.
Take a book from the shelf, any book will do, and open it at a random page. Choose three words or phrases that stand out to you. Transpose them onto a clean notebook page in a similar pattern to the original page. Now join the words in your style.
At this point you are probably raring to go, you may even have written a useful two hundred words that you can set aside to include in your project without realizing.
There are many different exercises, writing prompt sites, and what I’ve included is intended to whet your appetite, give you a few ideas to try.
I think the breath work is essential, as is the blue sky (or similar) visualization. As for the rest, make your routine as simple or complex as you wish. Add candles, crystals, music, silence, a favourite scarf or jumper. But having a repeated routine will act as a trigger to enhance your creative flow.
about the author
Born in the U.K., owner of two successful healthcare businesses and BBC
broadcaster, Angela has been involved with health and relaxation coaching since 1986. Angela began her writing career with non-fiction articles and progressed to a blend of fiction and non-fiction in the creation of Play Pause Unwind a series of relaxation visualisation resources.
Her dream of writing a novel took longer She was plagued by doubts about the quality of her writing and at 30,000 words wondered how she would ever finish her book. The pathway to publishing also seemed incredibly daunting. After finding an agent, she then waited over two years for news of a publishing deal. In 2019 she took matters into her own hands and her first novel was finally released
later in 2019. She has since become an Amazon best-selling author with four women’s fiction novels and two short story anthologies. Her short stories have also been published in ‘Yours’ magazine and feature regularly on the radio. Her writing coaching began with The Writer’s Company and continues as a freelance coach with Coach Foundation.
She has a passion for helping writers achieve their full creative
potential whilst nurturing their personal well-being.