This might be a bit of an odd piece of writing advice, but you set the tone for your writing day early.
If you’re a morning person, this probably means getting up ridiculously early, making yourself a coffee, and starting to write asap.
But what if you’re not a morning person? Well, as guy who hates mornings and is also a writer, I’ll tell you what I try to do in order to make sure that my writing time goes as smoothly as possible.
1. Have a morning routine, designed to optimize yourself for productivity
Every morning, while the coffee percolates, I meditate for ten minutes. Then I read for ten minutes. Then I do about twenty minutes of stretching. And then I have a cold shower. Then my day begins.
Other famous and far more successful people than me do similar things, along with practices like writing out a to do list, going for a walk, or writing five hundred words in a journal.
I’m not sure if the activities matter in themselves as much as the idea that from the first minute of the day, you’re doing things to wake up your mind and put it into a more productive and creative space.
2. Read during your breaks at work (assuming you have a day job). And read a lot in general.
I consider this to be a simple but effective hack. Most people spend their breaks on social media these days—and I’m not saying you can’t spend ANY time there. But as an exercise in optimizing the mind for writing, doing some reading is likely to be more effective—and it may give you some ideas or insights that’ll be useful in your own writing.
Personally, I usually have at least a couple books on the go at once. One on my phone for those work breaks, and at least two at home—one fiction, one non-fiction that’s related to my WIP somehow.
3. Sit in front of the chair and read your previous day’s writing as soon as possible—even if you won’t have time to actually write
This is another “hack” I consider to be simple yet effective. When you read your previous day’s work, you get mind working on the writing that’s coming up. Then, you don’t have to sit in front of your computer late, looking at your work and going “what in the seven hells am I suppose to do with this?!?!” and probably not get your word count in.
Instead, you can get ahead of things, and when you do sit in front of the computer you’ll have a few ideas.
4. Take breaks, and do activities like workouts or walks
A walk, in my personal and probably not very esteemed opinion, is a fantastic creative activity. Your mind is going to need breaks, especially if you’re sitting in front of your computer for long periods of time.
A walk in a fantastic stress reliever, and at least for me, the combination of a bit of nature and some tunes usually sparks some creative insights.
Workouts are vital for maintaining energy and mental sharpness—I don’t typically do them mid-writing, but before or after to keep my energy and mental freshness high.
What do you think? Those are my personal strategies for optimizing my brain for writing. Let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments.