I made an important realization recently. I couldn’t seem to focus when I tried to write. I felt anxious and worried, while my thoughts and my stomach whirled together…
But, this made no sense.
The New Year has been great for me so far writing wise. Thanks to this Positive Writer post, The Agony of Early Drafts – Should You Keep Writing, I may have found a top-notch editor to work with me on publishing my debut novel. I led a 10-day creativity challenge for my community which was hugely successful.
Life was good, so why was I struggling to get one word onto the page?
I finally recognized my mistake. This error was hurting my writing. It was hurting my life. I had to stop before my head exploded.
Are you making the same mistake, too?
Don’t get stuck in worry mode about your writing.
Please understand, financial stress, health struggles, relationship issues – these are all real problems and do cause concern.
I’m talking about when life is okay overall, but you still find you’re fretting over your writing.
Every day, you have a thousand different thoughts. They pop up from everywhere: the internet (especially social media), television, radio, reading, conversations at home or work (both happy and unhappy). Regrets or anger from the past, worrying about the future.
Sometimes when we sit down to write, our minds are anywhere, but right now.
Think Your Way to Better Writing
My brain felt like a pinball machine and I was the pinball. I mentally slammed against any and all thoughts, such as:
How will I find time to work on my novel with all my big plans for my blog?
What if my big idea for my blog fails?
How can I complete everything I want to do?
Those were just my writing worries. There was a long list of personal woes, too.
I’ve had a lot of guest posts to write lately, but it’s been extra hard with my brain stuck in worry mode all day. It was no better at night. I fell into bed exhausted, but my dreams felt just as rushed, so I woke up even more frazzled.
Do you do this, too? Do you sometimes work yourself into a frenzy?
If so, learn to get back to basics with your brain to improve your writing.
Return to ‘Now’ to Recover Your Writing
Both fiction and nonfiction are hard work. Positive Writer is committed to helping you battle self-doubt and to be good enough on the page. However, your thoughts directly affect your actions.
You cannot control what pops into your head, but you can control whether or not you hold onto that thought. Especially if it’s unwanted or negative.
Here are three, easy tricks I’m doing to reclaim your brain and recharge your writing.
Return to ‘Now’ to Recover Your Writing. (Click to Tweet)
1. Whatever you’re doing, focus on just that.
This is so much harder than it sounds, but it helps bring you back into the present moment.
When your mind is more open, you’re freer to write. I’ve been turning off the internet as I work and made myself write a full page before I go back to edit. While doing chores and my mind starts to wander, I repeated to myself whatever I’m doing, “I’m washing the dishes, I’m washing the dishes. Feel the warm, sudsy water. I’m washing the dishes.”
This helped pull me back to the present moment. Try to keep your thoughts positive and in the present. Doing so will improve your writing and you’ll enjoy your sessions more.
2. Stop-sign negative thoughts.
As you refocus on the task at hand, negative thoughts will still try to hijack your brain. When this happens, picture a giant, red stop sign to that unwelcomed thought, then return to the task at hand: “I’m washing the dishes, I’m washing the dishes…”
3. Take a 60-second vacation.
This one is my favorite because it’s fun. Take one minute to close your eyes and try to relax. Imagine a wonderful vacation (real or imagined), think about someone you love or what you feel grateful for in your life. This gives your mind a much needed break.
Try to do this at least six times a day. It’s easier than you think. When you first wake up, then go to sleep (there’s two); at meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner (that makes five); then, you can squeeze in one more: in between meetings, stuck in traffic, waiting in the checkout line. Treat yourself to these mini-getaways.
Use ‘Now’ to Empower Your Writing
Since freeing all this mental space, my writing has flowed more. I’ve encountered less anxiety during the day and my life feels calmer. Happier.
That’s the point of writing. To write more and stress less. Don’t you agree?
Are you ready to commit to writing more and stressing less? Share in the comments.
This post is written by Positive Writer regular contributor, Marcy McKay.