Creative Writing Tips - Take Control

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I recently received an email which quoted advice from the psychologist Eileen Feliciano about dealing with the pandemic: "Find something you can control, and control the heck out of it."

Writing can be that thing for you.

There are some aspects of writing that you might NOT be able to control right now. For example:

- how inspired you are feeling

- how easily the ideas flow

- how much writing time you have

- where you write.

On the other hand, there are many aspects of writing that you CAN control:

- choosing to use free moments for reading and writing, instead of spending them on social media, watching TV, checking news constantly, etc.

- making a commitment to show up for your writing, no matter how uninspired or unfocused you might be feeling.

- keeping a nonjudgmental attitude to your own writing -- writing down whatever comes to you without editing yourself or getting in your own way.

- congratulating yourself every time you make the effort to write, no matter the result of that effort. Just showing up is an accomplishment. Celebrate it.

If, like many people's, your life is a bit chaotic these days, think about what aspects of your writing environment and routine you CAN control. For example:

- You might lower the lights or make a cup of tea to get yourself in the mood to write.

- You might be able to take five minutes to exercise or meditate to disconnect from everything else and put your mind in writing mode.

- If there is a lot of commotion around you, you might try putting on headphones and listening to inspiring music, nature sounds, or white noise.

To inspire you, here are what some famous writers have said about their own writing routines.

"I had a ritual once of lighting a candle and writing by its light and blowing it out when I was done for the night."
- Jack Kerouac

"There are certain things I do if I sit down to write... I have a glass of water or a cup of tea. There’s a certain time I sit down, from 8:00 to 8:30, somewhere within that half hour every morning. I have my vitamin pill and my music, sit in the same seat, and the papers are all arranged in the same places. The cumulative purpose of doing these things the same way every day seems to be a way of saying to the mind, you’re going to be dreaming soon. It’s not any different than a bedtime routine.”
- Stephen King

"I never listen to music when I’m working. I haven’t that kind of attentiveness, and I wouldn’t like it at all. On the other hand, I’m able to work fairly well among ordinary distractions. My house has a living room that is at the core of everything that goes on: it is a passageway to the cellar, to the kitchen, to the closet where the phone lives. There’s a lot of traffic. But it’s a bright, cheerful room, and I often use it as a room to write in, despite the carnival that is going on all around me."
- E.B. White

"I have my favorite cat, who is my paperweight, on my desk while I am writing."
- Ray Bradbury

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