You’re in the middle of writing the most fabulous paragraph when the phone rings. It’s your child’s school and you’ve forgotten to pick her up.
You leap up, caroming from blissful creative mode to full-on panic mode. You rush out the door, the cursor on your screen blinking, your creative bliss lost.
Sound familiar? This wrenching transition style happens all too often. We lose track of time and pay the cost. We become grumpy, resentful and our desire to write dissipates. It’s one of the main reasons we fear entering the creative zone. We’re afraid we won’t be able to make a graceful return to the ordinary world where our real-world obligations await us.
It doesn’t have to be wrenching. Transitions between life and writing can be easy. But it requires some effort and some training on our part to make transitioning between our roles work for us.
How can writers and artists make the transition smooth and easy? I suggest ritualized acts help to honor the creative time. Below are ten transition methods that my clients have used successfully. Experiment to see which rituals work for you.
1. Use free-writing for a quick way to move from one thing to the next. Limber up your brain and word flow with ten minutes of flow writing. You may write about your topic or about what you are transitioning out of, as a way to release that role and focus on the writing role.
2. Read a short and inspirational passage from a book about writing or another inspiring text. Better yet, read the last things you wrote and pick up from there.
3. Create a mantra or saying that helps you to step into creativity. “I honor my creative time” or “Welcome to the creative zone” or something that suits you. Feel free to make a sign and post it in your writing zone.
4. Tune in to music to train yourself to easily access the writing zone. Try playing the same music when you write or have a handful of inspiring tunes ready. Mozart’s music is known to stimulate creativity and brain power. I have also used the relaxing Hemi-Sync music when writing my novel to help me access the flow state.
5. Take a walk before or after you write. Get your body moving and let your mind wander. You may pick up some fresh ideas along the way, so bring a small notebook or have your digital device ready to capture your brilliance.
6. Prepare your writing space. When things are in order and ready for you, it is easier to jump into the flow. End your writing sessions a few minutes early and take that time to tidy your writing zone.
7. Identify your insertion point. At the end of every writing session, pinpoint where you will start the next session. This will save you so much time and help you move past any emotions that may try to dissuade you from writing.
8. Do some stretching or other physical activity. Prepare your body to sit still for longer periods of time. This will serve you both going into and coming out of the creative zone.
9. Get still with meditation or simply sitting and breathing deeply for a few minutes. Accessing a deeper, sacred space can help you to swim in the creative pool more easily.
10. Honor the boundaries you have set up around your writing. If you have communicated that you are unavailable, do not be available. Turn off your phone and put it out of reach.
What helps you transition into and out of creative mode? Share your transition rituals in a comment below.