Whether you are facing a blank page, or trying to get back into the ‘zone’ you were working in last time, starting a new writing session can be a challenge.
But getting your writing started doesn’t have to feel so hard.
In fact, if you can develop a practice of inviting yourself back to your writing, you can make it easier and easier to get started.
So, how do you invite yourself back?
Check out the list below so you can begin to develop your own enticing invitation to get writing.
Start at the end
Obviously, you can’t jump ahead to the end of a session that hasn’t even started. But how you spend the last few minutes of one session can help you prepare for the next.
You don’t have to create an elaborate ritual or create a big chart but following any or all of the next few steps can help you create an welcoming invitation to your future writing time.
Bookmark Your Ideas
You’ve probably heard about writers who always stop in the middle of a sentence or a paragraph so they will have somewhere to start when they return to the page.
You don’t have to follow that exact method, of course, but ‘bookmarking’ a place to start is a good idea.
You could make a few notes or a list at the end of today’s document to remind you of the ideas you were building.
Or you can make a list in a notebook or in an app.
I’m not suggesting that you need an elaborate outline or that you need to know exactly what you are going to do. I AM suggesting that you create enough of a prompt so that you aren’t starting from scratch the next time that you sit down to write.
Check Your Space
I’ve written before about how you can make your writing space more comfortable but checking your space is not just about making your space comfy. It’s can also be about setting yourself up for success in your next writing session.
That might mean clearing off any clutter in your workspace. It might mean removing things that have nothing to do with writing. Or it may mean tucking away anything that could distract you.
Basically, you want to make sure that your writing space LOOKS inviting.
Add To Your Calendar
Every invitation needs a time and a place for the event, right?
Once you have your ‘place’ ready, have a look at your calendar so you can set a time and a date.
I realize that you might not know for sure right now but even setting a tentative time and date will help you feel welcome in your own writing process.
Note: If you set a date and time but you can’t stick with that schedule, please don’t be hard on yourself. Just choose a different time and try to keep that clear.
Use Your Imagination
This step might feel a little silly but imagining yourself writing in the future might actually help you get started.
Now, this isn’t a suggestion to imagine the OUTCOME of your writing, I’m suggesting that you imagine yourself in the process of writing.
Use all of your writerly skills to create a full mental image of yourself returning to your work space and getting started.
Will it be light out or will it be dark? How will your space be lit? What kind of clothes will you be wearing? Will you have a cup of tea? A snack? The more sensory details you can add about the process, the more real you can make it feel, the better.
Note: If you’re one of those people who can’t create a mental picture consider writing a description instead. Even a quick list of details could make a big difference.
Get Your Gold Star
So, you’ve finished today’s writing. You’ve made notes for your future self, you’ve cleared your space, and added to your calendar. You have imagined your future self writing up a storm. So what’s next?
Before you walk way from your desk, take a minute to acknowledge the work that you have done today.
Put a star in your document or draw one on your calendar. Or congratulate yourself aloud.
All too often, we wait to celebrate our writing. We look forward to celebrating big markers of success but we forget to celebrate the process, the day-to-day victories of just getting words out into the world.
Please take every chance you find to celebrate any success.
And that includes sitting down to write just 10 more words today or taking the time to create an invitation to return to your writing next time.