14 Prompts

Practice Writing Prompts that Inspire

Five Ways to Quit Being a Bi-Polar Writer

Have you ever expe­ri­enced the emo­tional roller coaster of writing?

Do you ever think as you’re writ­ing, “Damn. This pas­sage is good. People are going to think I’m a really good writer.” This hap­pens to me on occa­sion, but more often, I write pas­sages I think are terrible—I cringe and get knots in my back as I write.

Endless Road by Frank Kovalchek

This emo­tional ride often dis­tracts us from actu­ally writ­ing. We get so sucked up in how we’re feel­ing we for­get to write.

It’s moments like these when you have to refocus.

How to Refocus

The only secret to get­ting out of this emo­tional cycle is to write.

Don’t go back and fix your spelling mis­takes. You can do that later.

Don’t google that quote from that famous author you absolutely need. You can do that later.

And for good­ness sakes, don’t “take a break” to check email and face­book while you wait for inspi­ra­tion. You won’t find inspi­ra­tion on facebook.

This is the daily trudge of writ­ing. You have to write when you love what you’re writ­ing and just want to soak up every word. You have to write when you hate what you’re writ­ing so much it’s throw­ing your back out. This daily trudge is so dif­fi­cult that every once in a while I invent a new aid to stay focused.

Here are a few tools to help you escape the emo­tional cycle of writing:

1. Close your eyes as you write.

When you’re feel­ing down about your­self and your writ­ing, the worst thing you can do is read the last sen­tence that you wrote.

Instead, close your eyes and type. You can read and fix it later.

2. Give your­self a time limit.

Set a timer for fif­teen to thirty min­utes and write as much as you can dur­ing that time. Don’t edit. Don’t re-read. Don’t play face­book games. You can do that stuff after.

This is a great way to force your brain to focus for solid chunks of time.

3. Write with a type­writer or by hand.

Typewriters and note­books don’t have the inter­net. They don’t have Freecell or Spider Solitaire. All you can do is write or not write.

On top of that, these medi­ums force you to sep­a­rate edit­ing time from writ­ing time, which can slow you down.

4. Take breaks.

Many peo­ple think the longer they sit at their com­puter work­ing, the more pro­duc­tive they will be. The truth is our minds and bod­ies need breaks from time to time.

Go on a walk. Stare out the win­dow and zone out for five min­utes. Meditate. I try to do this for twenty min­utes twice a day.

Breaks help our sub­con­scious catch up so that we can refo­cus on our work.

5. Invent your own way to focus.

This short list isn’t meant to be com­plete. You can eas­ily invent your own ways to help you focus. The prin­ci­ples are always the same. Focus on writ­ing. Review later. Avoid distraction.

When you do this, you can get ahead of your emo­tions that dis­tract you. Stop being a bi-polar writer. Start being a pro­duc­tive one.

How do you deal with the emo­tional cycle in writ­ing? And what do you do to stay focused?

PRACTICE

Practice focus by writ­ing about a bas­ket­ball player before a big game. How does he prep his mind? Does he visu­al­ize the game in his mind? Does he think about what it felt like the first time he played the sport?

Choose one of the tools above to help you focus (per­son­ally, I’m going to write with my eyes closed).

You have fif­teen min­utes. Post your piece in the com­ments when your time is up. Have fun!

About Joe Bunting

Joe is a ghostwriter, editor, and an aspiring fiction author. He writes and edits books that change lives. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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