It is said we all have a book inside of us. Yet many people struggle with getting words onto paper (or onto the computer screen).
The new book, The Writer’s Process, provides some insights into this situation.
The book discusses what hinders our writing (hint: it’s called human nature) and what we can do about it.
The Writer’s Process “combines the field-tested practices of successful and productive writers with insights from cognitive science” (such as neuroscientific and psychological research), so that we might “master the inner game of the craft” in our own way.
I’ve written professionally for more than two decades, and the book confirmed many techniques I have discovered over the years. (I feel validated, but I digress.) Here are some of the techniques the author suggests to help us get in touch with our “inner book” or other missive.
- Alternate periods of writing with breaks. Most people get more done in three blocks of one hour each than in one three-hour block.
- “Freewrite.” Write without stopping for a given period of time or a given number of words.
- When you get stuck, make a note of the problem before you stop writing. Then take a break, sleep on it or change your environment. Chances are good your “muse” will figure it out before you start again.
- Get a good night’s sleep. (This isn’t spelled out in the book, but I recommend having a pad and pen near your bed to capture those inspirations that come first thing in the morning.)
- Write before going online. (Need I elaborate?)
- When researching, dig one level deeper than you plan to use.
- Begin with a deadline and work your schedule backwards to determine when you need to start and how much you need to do each day.
- Get feedback from people whose writing you respect. Be open to criticism and suggestions.
The book has many more helpful techniques that can help all of us liberate our inner books. I encourage you to read The Writer’s Process.