I’m still glowing after an awesome experience at Phoenix Comicon. I got a major brain overload of writing/author information from everyone there, along with enough Darth Vader and Pokemon…One panel discussion gave me much food for thought. Not only was there interesting information on what to write, but each author was very forthcoming with the intricacies of how they write. That fascinates me… I want to know how others do things, how they struggle, tricks they use, etc. What I found interesting was a question on discipline as it relates to writer’s block. The panel, consisting of Leanna Renee Hieber, Aprilynne Pike, Jeff Marriotte and Sam Sykes, basically agreed that there is no such thing as writer’s block. The secret, according to the panel, was to keep writing no matter what comes up. Make it a habit if you want to succeed. Now, don’t stop reading because that sounds too simple. There is more…
Like any muscle, the brain has memory. Keep writing in the same way at the same time and your brain is now trained to write according to these rules. For instance, Leanna Renee said she drinks a certain type of tea while writing each book. This way, when she brews that tea and sits down to write, her brain is hardwired to create that story. New book = new tea=Brilliant. Many famous writers use this routine as well, preferring to write at the same time at the same place each day. I’ve always been impressed by that.
This explains why so many people can finish Nanowrimo but not finish editing the work once it’s over (including myself). For those 30 days, no matter what, my butt was in that chair at 6 a.m. with a cup of tea, punching out that story for two hours before waking my daughter. I wrote sometimes at night also, but always in the morning. I became accustomed to writing like this for 30 days. What happened when it was over? I’m sure you can guess…I stopped. I figured it was time to catch up on my sleep and to hell with getting up at 6 a.m. I don’t get up that early for anyone, not even myself. (and do not call me before 8!)
This reminds me of a trick I used to use in college while studying. I gave each subject a different snack or gum while I studied. That way, when I ate that snack while taking the test, the material came back to me much easier. For instance, while studying sociology, I ate Twizzlers. Then, during the test, I ate a Twizzler and bam…it all came back to me. M&Ms for another subject, Juicy Fruit for another. Sounds strange, but it really works. Your brain associates this snack with the material you were reading. Just as a smell or song takes you back to a special time.
For that reason, creating a routine is essential to writing. My proof is quite simple, no routine = no writing. It’s not months after Nanowrimo and it’s been hard to get back into it. I know that I have to set aside a certain time each day, with a certain drink or aroma, and get my ass in that chair. Simple.
What’s your writing routine? How have you trained your brain to write and get into the mood?