Getting in the Groove

On Wednesday I talked about writing from determination rather than inspiration. Determination takes time and effort, which often happens when you’d rather be doing just about anything else, while inspiration is the flighty friend who drops by for a weekend and then doesn’t talk to you again for weeks.

Still, there are steps you can take to help you get into the determination mindset that don’t rely on a feeling that may or may not show up. Really, it’s all about knowing yourself and the way you work best.

Listen to some music or find the stillness.
Are you the type who thrives with a full orchestra at your disposal? Maybe some alternative or rap or EDM? Or do you enjoy the quiet of your back porch with no cell phone, no TV in the background, no interesting conversation to eavesdrop on? I’m somewhat of a mix, because what I write typically depends on my surroundings. I prefer quiet for a more serious piece, but the soothing tones of Starbucks for something more lighthearted. If you know how you are as an individual, then you know what you’ll prefer as a writer.

Paper journal or word doc?
I prefer Scrivener because it has so many ways to organize your work, but maybe you’re the type who likes to hand write things. Whatever you prefer, be it typing or calligraphy (bless you), take advantage of it! Buy yourself a journal or paper worthy of your story. Invest in Scrivener or the latest version of Microsoft Word. Heck, get the $20 fountain pen if you think it’ll help you focus. The point is that the tools you use only make you enjoy your writing time more. If you’re too busy focused on your crappy pen or how you have to punch the letter “R” to make it work, then your writing will suffer.

Early birds vs. night owls.
When do you focus the best? Is it before your house wakes up and you have a cup of coffee warming up your writing fingers? Or is it late at night, when you’re fighting the burning sensation behind your eyeballs (Is it weird that I love the word eyeballs? I say it as often as I can because it’s so funny to me.) that you’re able to squeeze out the best words? For me, it depends on what I’m writing, but I’m a fairly self-aware individual, so I know what works best for my situations. If you’re better at one than the other, then make the time to get up or stay up.

I guess you could say that you’re making your own inspiration when you create the perfect setting for your writing time. What other things help you find your determination stride?

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