Writers handle numerous tasks, but what happens when writing isn’t one of them?
You dart home from work with tons of ideas bouncing around your head and then you can’t find the will or the power to start rattling away on the keyboard.
There are plenty of writers out there who can only muster up the strength to write a few paragraphs everyday—most writers probably fall in this group.
How do you lock yourself down and write paragraph after paragraph after paragraph without stopping for hours? Is there a way to buckle the seat belt and know that you’re in for an adventure of ups and downs on the keyboard?
I have three methods that pry open the top of my noggin and dump thoughts onto the page until I’m exhausted. Take a look and try them for yourself.
Use the Juicing Method
Baseball players juice with steroids, and so should you—steroids for writers. Ramp up your morning with a motivational book. I used to have problems going to bed because I wanted to hammer out a few more emails, post to the blog and catch up on my favorite book or TV show. It never occurred to me that I was saving my favorite parts of the day for the end. Sure I love writing, but let’s be serious, I can’t imagine anyone saying they love writing more than they love reading a good book. Juice up your morning by getting in the right mindset.
If you wake up every morning and the first thing you do is hop in the shower or go to work or read some news about how the world is crumbling, you’re off to a miserable start. The Juicing Method has four steps to prepare your mind for a marathon.
Read two or three chapters of an inspirational book. TV shows and books that aren’t inspirational work well too, but I’ve found that inspirational books work best to help you initiate writing.
Drink coffee or tea as you read your inspirational book. Try to avoid drinking once you start writing. It destroys focus.
Sit outside or in bright, bright, bright light while reading. Vitamin D is one of the few vitamins you can’t get naturally from food. In order to boost your energy you need some short time in the sun.
Crank non-vocal music to get you started. This helps juice up your emotions.
Use the Wake Up and Go Method
Don’t shower, don’t shave and don’t tend to hygiene until noon. Writers hold truckloads of thoughts in their minds once they wake up. Unload those thoughts and you could find yourself writing for hours.
This method also forces you to go against your usual routine. Whenever I shift furniture around in my room or move to a new coffee shop or library to write I find myself writing for hours. Once you move to a new place or change your routine you’re mind and body jump to command. You’re excited that the boring, everyday activities have subsided—at least briefly.
Not only that, but you get a chance to sit in your bed and relax. You can also try moving to a couch, but avoid sitting at your desk. This method thrives on the easy transition from sleep to writing. Once noon rolls around go and take a break and eat lunch.
Note: I usually leave fruit and water on my bed stand for this method. I try not to walk around until noon.
Use the Horse Blinders Method
The previous two methods pertain to getting amped up for your writing marathon. These methods work great for me, and I’m a strong believer that poor preparation leads to poor results when writing.
The Horse Blinders method sits your butt down in a desk and forces you to write without wanting to do anything else but get to your end result. The tactic is pretty simple, and it incorporates various tips you’ll find scattered through the internet. The only difference? The Horse Blinders Method brings them together for the maximum effect. Let’s walk through the steps.
Outline. Start your writing with an outline of every paragraph you plan on creating. Make the outline rough and ragged, but it should help you write for three or four hours. Grab a cup of coffee or tea before you start writing. No coffee is allowed while writing. If you want something in your mouth, try long lasting candy or gum. I use the coffee pouches called Grinds ( I don’t have to pee for hours nor reach for a mug.)
Unplug. Find your router and unplug it. Disconnecting on your computer isn’t a solution. Software that blocks out distractions isn’t a solution. Take your phone and place it on a charger in another room. I place mine outside my upstairs bathroom. This helps me forget about it until I use the bathroom.
Buy and use noise cancelling headphones. This method doesn’t work well without headphones. Don’t think earbuds suffice. Headphones put blinders on your sense of hearing. I use music with no vocals, but you can decide if you want no music or music with no vocals. Some people use it, but I tend to think that most folks have trouble with vocals bouncing around in their head.
Use a large TV or monitor. I just started using a 32 inch TV as my monitor. It cuts out distractions behind my computer and helps me focus on the screen. A large monitor also prevents squinting and slowing down to read.
Create physical blinders for your line of vision. Put stacks of books on both sides of your head. I’ve found that a hoodie works well for me.
Place your desk in the room’s center. Your eyes and overall attention wanders to the left when you’re situated to the right.
Set your timer for three or four hours. This is your marathon.
Reward yourself. Place a reward in a separate room for afterwards. Once the timer strikes zero, it’s yours. Put on celebratory music with vocals and dance around or whatever floats your boat.
Let me know in the comments once you try one of these methods. Does it work for you? Let us know if you have any other methods that teach your how to write paragraph after paragraph for hours on end.