February 11, 2014

How to Create an Awesome Writing Practice. ~ Sarvasmarana Nithya

poet for hire

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”

~ Anaïs Nin

I love writing and I want to do more of it but I find myself constantly battling procrastination and resistance. So I have set out to embark on creating the right atmosphere for my writing to take place, grow and evolve.

Writing is like any other practice in our life whether it is yoga, meditation, healthy living or mindfulness—it all involves practice, so why should writing be any different?

Lately, I have found myself feeling stuck, so I have decided to tackle it just like I did with my own personal yoga practice. Which means just do it and do it daily no matter how uninspired I feel.

This is where I remind myself of my previous yogic achievements. I remember when I first started I could barely bend over and touch my toes. Now through years of practice I can do so much more that I ever though I could. So here I will implement those same principles in my daily writing practice.

One of my favorite online tools is 750words.com. A guy by the name of Buster Bensen was the person who developed it. He was inspired from the infamous “Morning Pages” by Julia Cameron. It’s all online and it records all entries and stores them. It also has a word count which let’s writers know when they have reached a daily word count.

The whole idea of developing a daily writing practice is to write from a stream of consciousness without any censoring or editing. This is what Julia Cameron calls ‘a daily brain dump.’ It allows for us to get rid of all the proverbial excess so we can get to the good stuff we want to express. I also like to think of it as oiling the machine to get the creative juices peculating.

Writing daily can help to sort out and process our thoughts and emotions. It also helps to identify and recognize patterns where we might be stuck. It’s good cheap therapy and keeps the friends we have.

When deciding to take on a daily writing practice you can either choose to write the traditional way with pen and paper or do all your writing online. I have tried both and they each have their individual advantages and disadvantages. It all boils down to personal preference.

I decided to do an experiment and try both. Due to laziness, convenience and ease I don’t write by hand anymore but wanted to see what it felt like to write manually and see if there was a difference.

I found that because the process was a bit slower I was able to connect with my emotions more and discover the deeper meanings while contemplating on the words. It was a more rich experience writing by hand and it seemed as if the sequencing of my thoughts had more of a flow. While writing on my online journal, I have a tendency to use fragments all over the place with no rhyme or reason.

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of online writing verses writing by hand.

Advantages of writing on paper:

  • We can get a cool pen and fancy journal.
  • It can be an intimate experience with our self.
  • We can disconnect from technology and sit in silence with our pen and notebook.

Disadvantages of writing on paper:

  •  We could lose it and someone could find it and read it.
  • We have to carry it everywhere because we never know when great ideas will strike.
  • It’s harder to search and organize when looking for things.
  • It can be illegible if we can’t read our own hand writing (I am bad at this)

Advantages of online writing:

  •  We can organize and do searches to locate our content.
  • It’s legible.
  • Spell check.
  • Convenience
  • Synching on multiple devices and online back ups like iCloud and other online systems.

Disadvantages of doing online writing:

  • It can get lost in  Cyber Space somewhere.
  • There is no guarantee that the content is completely private and safe.
  • Our account could get hacked and someone can read it.

Here are some tips to get started:

  • Allow for time to write every day and stick to it. I recommend starting with something small, like 21 minutes a day and doing it no matter what. Once we get started it’s kind of like going to the gym. We don’t want to do it but once we get there we are so glad we did.
  • Go out in nature to clear our brain.
  • Do some yoga or mediation beforehand.
  • Have a daily reading practice it stimulates the imagination and enhances our vocabulary.
  • Create a sacred writing space it could be on your kitchen table or favorite local cafe.
  • Cut all distractions out turn off the Internet, telephone, etc.
  • Most importantly just do it!

The perk of propagating a writing practice is our muse knows where to find us on a daily basis. This tells her that we are ready to receive and deliver what she has to offer. It’s an acknowledgment that we are serious about our craft.

Here are a few of my favorite online writing apps:

750words.com: Distraction free writing, Word count (which is great if you want to use for submit articles for elephantjournal or your personal blogs). Fun nerdy graphs with your writing statistics and moods. You get cool little badges when you complete so many days of writing which help to self motivate and encourage. It’s only a small $5 donation (the price of one soy latte) after your free 30 day trial to keep the site running.

OmmWriter (Free) and ommWriter Dana II (for $4.99)

Penzu (Free)

Evernote (Free and Premium accounts)

iA Writer/Writer Pro ($4.99 and $19.99)

Byword ($9.99)

WriteRoom ($9.99)

MacJournal ($39.99)

For larger projects like books, screen and script writing the following are suggested:

Mellel ($38.99) Also, they offer an educational discount

Ulysses III ($49.99)

Scrivener ($49.99)

iBooks Author (free)

I also like to listen to brain enhancing music without words to help with my focus and concentration.

Awakened Mind System 2.0 by Dr. Jeffrey Thompson.

With many years of research and collaboration with a Zen Master, Dr. Jeffrey Thompson discovered that we all share a common pattern in brainwaves, which is called the awakened-mind pattern. He believes listening to this music can help tap into the clarity of mind, deep insights and creative inspiration. In addition it helps in accessing our highest potential and heightens our states of consciousness.

Another favorite to listen while writing is Positive Mind by Anemona Brainwave.

The following apps help to keep away from the distracting internet browsing so we can be more productive:

Stayfocused is a Google Chrome app

Nanny Google Chrome app

Feel free to share your daily writing practice tips and tools! Happy Writing!

Love elephant and want to go steady?

Sign up for our (curated) daily and weekly newsletters!

Assistant Editor: Dana Gornall/Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo Credit: Josh Towne/Pixoto

Read 11 Comments and Reply

Read 11 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Sarvasmarana Ma Nithya  |  Contribution: 4,610