A novel never feels real to me until I hit the first ten thousand words. Then, I feel obligated to finish the dang thing! And excited...by the 10k word count, the ink threshold in my brain is beginning to overflow with ideas.
But how do I keep that creative momentum up? Here are a few of the methods that help me:
1. Morning Meditation: I read a bit of philosophy, poetry or biblical wisdom for a few minutes. My current favorite is Earth Prayers from around the World edited by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon.
2. Exercise: I do physical exercises to get myself energized before I plop in front of the computer. Other times I write a little first and then exercise just to break things up.
3. Writing Excuses: I am getting into the habit of listening to this fabulous podcast whenever I exercise, or take a lunch break.
4. Online Stopwatch: I use the countdown tool to keep myself from getting distracted too often. Sometimes I set the timer for only 15 minutes, sometimes 30 minutes. Usually I stop using it once I get into the flow of ink.
5. Music: Playing music often inspires me while I write. This method doesn't work for everyone, but it definitely helps me. Also, making up a track list that expresses the mood of a chapter or character also gets me energized to write.
6. Get gritty! I re-read this story shared by Paulo Coelho and written by W. Timothy Gallway, and tell my fragile whining ego to shut up because every story starts as a seed. Of course it will be gangling and strange as it grows and needs pruning to shape it into its end form. So take pride in the dirt and nourishing dark and keep pushing towards the light.
“When we plant a rose seed in the earth, we notice it is small, but we do not criticize it as “rootless and stemless.”
‘We treat it as a seed, giving it the water and nourishment required of a seed.
“When it first shoots up out of the earth, we don’t condemn it as
immature and underdeveloped, nor do we criticize the buds for not being
open when they appear.
‘We stand in wonder at the process taking place, and give the plant the care it needs at each stage of its development.
“The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential.
‘It seems to be constantly in the process of change: Yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.
“A flower is not better when it blooms than when it is merely a bud; at
each stage it is the same thing — a flower in the process of expressing
7. Write something, even if it is just one sentence: still
working on this one! The point is to get myself into the habit of facing
my ink demons. Start with just a sentence, and the next day make it
three, and before long paragraphs and pages come next.
8. Fallow Days: Some days I just don't write, and that's okay. Quiet times nourish creativity, too.
What are the methods that work for you?