Get in the Right Frame of Mind to Write Fast!

Let’s talk about getting into the right frame of mind when you sit down to write.

On days or weeks when I have a lot going on, I don’t always manage to do this as quickly as I’d like. Some days my brain feels distracted and jumps around my mental to-do list. I feel the urge to procrastinate on my phone, finding anything to do except get on and write.

* Sigh * 

This makes me feel bad and it’s a massive waste of time. Know the feeling?
To combat this problem, I’ve discovered 5 mini mindfulness strategies to use in different situations. They are super short, but they really work! Here goes…

My 5 Mini Mindfulness Strategies to Quickly Get into the Right Frame of Mind to Write 

1. Write down my intention for the day (just 1 sentence!)

I’m a big fan of journaling – for its mental health benefits. Writing out all those messy thoughts and feelings that swirl around my head from time to time, feels great! I also keep a gratitude journal from time to time.

As an extension of this, I’ve begun starting my day by writing down a 1-sentence intention in a notebook that I keep beside my bed. It’s so short there’s no excuse not to do it * PLUS * it means I start my day in the right frame of mind.

You can write whatever you want – whatever is relevant to you at any given time – in words that feel true to you, but here are a few examples:

  • Today I intend to prioritize my writing, avoid distractions, and start my day with my most important work.
  • Today I will be creative, open and playful.
  • Today I intend to be focused and productive. 

2. Listen to a snatch of an inspiring podcast or audiobook

Over breakfast, when I sense my mind is less than focused, to help me get into a creative frame of mind, I listen to a writing-related podcast or audiobook.

I really enjoy the podcast The Writer’s Routine, where each episode an author is interviewed about their daily writing routine.

In terms of audiobooks, I recently listened to and loved ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert. It might be too whimsical for some but I love the way she frames writing as a sort of magic. She’s down to earth too, acknowledging every possible fear or block you might be facing. When I listen to this I feel like a writer, and it gently pushes me into the task at hand. Getting words out of my head and onto the page. 

3. Walk on the grass

Photo by Anna Nekrashevich

I like to start the day with writing when I can, as morning is when I’m at my freshest. But that isn’t always possible. And that’s a problem, as trying to jump-start my writing later in the day can be tricky.

For example, if I need to transition from something stressful or emotional (such as an intense meeting or conversation) to something creative in a short space of time, that’s tough. But, I’ve found a great little mindfulness hack to overcome this problem.

I go into the garden, take off my shoes and socks, close my eyes and walk around on the grass. For around 5 minutes, I mindfully feel the ground beneath me, I breathe in the fresh air, feel the weather on my face – the sun, the wind, the cool breeze. I look into the distance, as far as I can see, and I listen to the sounds around me.

By the end of 5 minutes, my head is clear and I’m ready to be creative. It’s like a minor miracle. 

4. Do a short creativity meditation

Often, I can start my day with writing, but even so, my brain might still not be in the right frame of mind (if I’ve had a stressful walk to school with my reluctant youngster, for example! 🤯)

One small thing that helps me refocus, is to do a short creativity meditation, just 3-5 minutes long. There are some good ones on the Headspace app that I like, on topics such as creativity, creative writing and focus, but you can also find some free ones on YouTube.

5. Use my sense of touch

Sitting at my desk, if I notice my mind wandering and the urge to procrastinate creeping in, I find it helpful to use some micro-mindfulness techniques. Here’s one example that I got from Shirzad Chamine.

Using your sense of touch, close your eyes and slowly rub your fingertips together. Then slowly move them onto your palms. Tune into the sensations of your fingertips touching each other. You could also slowly touch the fabric of your clothing, or the cold keyboard for your laptop. Keep this up for 30 seconds or more. Slow down your breathing and breathe right down into your belly until you are completely present. Then reopen your eyes and return to your work.

It sounds weird but try it. It really brings your focus back to the task at hand.

That’s it! 
I hope you find these ideas helpful. Give one or more a try and let me know how you get on, I’d love to hear from you!
If you found this article helpful, why not sign up for my newsletter? I send out an email every couple of weeks with tips on all aspects of writing, productivity, habits, blocks, and different ways of marketing yourself and your writing. Anyone who signs up gets a free 14-day writing course – perfect for kickstarting a writing routine. 


PS: I offer 1:1 coaching
My focus is helping ambitious writers who are struggling to sit down and write (or sit down and sell their writing) – maybe because of self-doubt, a block – or simply good old-fashioned procrastination.

Perhaps you’re great at writing on commission, but you never get around to writing your own original ideas. Or maybe you love writing but always put off networking and marketing your work. Either way, you’ll come away from my coaching calls feeling excited to have a goal and a writing routine, enjoying the process, and empowered to try out lots of new marketing ideas.

To find out more, check out my website. Or you can book a call and ask me anything.

Katy’s coaching made me come up with a story idea I probably wouldn’t have thought of without her. It pushed my creative boundaries. Novel writing felt like climbing Mount Everest before – I felt quite nervous about it after a previous adventure into writing a novel floundered after over a year’s work. Katy has helped restore my confidence and start to enjoy the process. The coaching has also made me look at my work habits and try to adjust them.

Louise Johnson

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