Literature

6 steps to Achieving a State of Creative Flow

Words By Maja Metera

As a kid I wanted to be a published author – I had millions of ideas per minute for banging opening and end scenes, had a good variety of characters in my head but never got to sit down and figure out the middle to actually write a novel. I still have a dream of writing a book but in the nonfiction genre instead. Yet, every writer knows that it’s super hard to get up in the morning and type words even when you feel like your brain is on a big blob and motivation is nowhere to be found. So how do people manage to do that? I’ll let you in on few secrets.

  1. Forget this whole concept

First of all, saying that you need motivation to create or work is the biggest scam of our generation. You don’t brush your teeth when you find motivation. You don’t go to seminars because you’re so motivated to (unless you do then sorry – most of us at one point or another of the year just try to survive). We do most of the things in life forced by self-discipline and out of habit. So organise time for it, get yourself to plan the paragraph if you can’t form a good sentence- or write down the incoherent one. It’s better than nothing.

2. Baby steps and baby habits

However, setting yourself to write every day can be really discouraging. It takes a lot of time and effort and you might just feel too much resistance to even open the Word document. So if writing a page, 200 words or a sentence seem impossible to achieve – find a thing that is so small that it feels ridiculous not to be able to do it daily. It can be as simple as turning on your laptop and opening the file. When you decide what is right for your level of self-discipline, make this activity your habit. You probably
won’t start writing immediately but once sitting down at your desk with the file open becomes something as natural as flushing the toilet, you can build around it. It is easier to create more complex habits on the foundation of already existing ones that also work towards your goal.

3. Get to know yourself

It is also good to work in line with our natural rhythm. We are taught to adapt to the schedule that only works for around half of the population by sitting in a classroom from 8 am for good nine years of our lives. But what if your biological clock is not synced up with what is expected of us? Then you force your self to work from 10 to 12 when your deep focus time is in the afternoon. In consequence, you fail to concentrate and your perception of your capabilities goes down with your motivation.

I recommend this TikTok account – @the.productivity.coach. Mackenzie explains how our hormone levels impact our ability to focus and how much energy we have. This also means that at different times we should plan, communicate and execute the plan for maximum efficiency. Using this information you can plan your ideal working day which will help you feel more motivated. If you menstruate, I would also observe how your motivation and productivity fluctuate throughout your cycle as during PMS or your period your concentration span can be shorter than in the middle of the month.

4. Perfection = procrastination

When you finally start writing, find your workspace. Maybe light a candle that will only stay lit when you work – setting a time frame for focus. Get rid of all distractions – turn off the wifi connection if you can to avoid procrastinating.

It is good to mention here that trying to get every detail to be perfect is also a form of procrastination because if you fear mistakes so much – you will never finish your work. In Camus’ famous “The Plague”, one of the characters wrote one sentence of his novel in his life because he constantly tried to make it flawless. Do you want that?

5. Get yourself a personal cheerleader

To be fair, some of your work can be already perfect for someone else. Since we’re usually our own worst critics, we need a personal cheerleader to balance the negativity out. A cheerleader is someone who always has your back, who is proud of you for big small things like eating three healthy meals a day. This person wants to show you and your achievements off. It can be a friend, a family member or your partner. Their praise will act as a reward and reassurance of the quality of your texts.

6. Find inspiration

And finally – get inspired. Every great author read countless texts. Not only it helps develop your style, keeps your spelling in check but also is a workout for your imagination. However, I find that after producing few articles each month, I can’t stand to look at anything which requires me to focus. So here’s a list of my favourite films, tv-series and albums that make me brainstorm ideas:

  • Adult World
  • Stuck in Love
  • The Art of Getting By
  • X+Y
  • The Bold Type
  • Sex and the City (series)
  • Hopeless Fountain Kingdom by Halsey
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