A Writing Game Plan: Routines and Attention on Creative Sensations

Usually, when we sit down to write, we re-read (and then revise) the previous day or days’ writing. This is a waste of time if you’re drafting. It’s far more important to feel the story energy burning forward. Also, revising is about correcting – very different from the feeling of drafting: creating. So plan to start like this:

1. Make starting fun ... Prime your writing brain with reading: sit in the writing chair and read prose fiction or poetry or watch a movie for up to ten minutes; just a taste of something fun or challenging, something pleasurable to start you off.
2. Go to your text and read only your notes to yourself (see below), then start writing without re-reading or revising (resist that temptation; learn to trust your memory).
3. When you write, give yourself permission: begin anywhere in your story or just making lists or writing out-of-sequence. Learn to feel the sensation of getting into the flow. Every day is liable to be different.
4. Write for only a predetermined length of time. You want to learn to regulate time, so you can trust yourself to both write and have a life. So you need to stop on time.
5. Stop writing when you know what’s going to happen next. This may sound crazy: Why would I stop when I’m feeling so inspired?

Because: If you know what happens next, that feeling will tend to persist in your subconscious, so you’ll get back to it; you won’t procrastinate waiting for “inspiration.”
b. If you write yourself dry, you end up feeling like you have nothing left, and that feeling tends to persist, so you won’t get back to writing for several days or even weeks, and your imaginative spark for this story will extinguish.
So...as you finish writing for the day,
c. Make a few short notes about what you feel is going to happen next [to plant and water seeds in your imagination that will grow in the sunshine of your imagination’s excited state].
d. Use a writing log: note how long you wrote today, and also decide the next time (hour and day) you will sit down to continue writing. [Next day is best, two days are OK, but if you wait three days your feeling will fade]. Keep that date, and write even if for a short time; 15 minutes will re-ignite your story.
e. Routines are best learned gradually, with plans, and with positive reinforcement, so begin with your current practice, note it in your log and build up.

Routine is the writer’s friend
Keep a log and record your writing sessions; make notes of what works.
More, shorter writing periods are better for the work and keep you happy/more inspired.
If you are in the drafting process, avoid revising and re-reading except when absolutely necessary. Trust your imagination.
Write for only a predetermined length of time; stop when you feel inspired. Emotions persist so your imagination will burn with that inspiration for a couple
of days – get back to writing before this feeling fades.