How to Create the Proper Headspace for Writing
Since writing is a creative process, it’s not always reliable. Sometimes ideas can flow freely without any issues. Other times, however, you might struggle with creative blocks or coming up with clever topics to write about. The last thing you want is to sit at your desk and feel frustrated because you can’t figure out what to write.
One of the best ways to boost creativity and ward off the threat of writer’s block is by constructing and living in the proper headspace for an effective writing process. However, the “right” headspace might be slightly different for everyone. It’s more about being in a mindset that works for you, allowing you to clear your mind and focus on your work.
In this article, we’ll explore the importance of having the right headspace for writing, and how to create a proper one.
The Importance of Having a Proper Headspace
Getting in the right headspace is important for nearly every type of career. If someone says they’re “not in the right headspace” for something, it means they might not be able to do that particular task or job or that it could negatively impact their mental well-being.
On the other hand, if you’re in the right headspace, you probably experience the following within your work and personal schedule:
- A better stress response;
- Less anxiety;
- Improved focus;
- An immune system boost; and
- Better sleep.
The more rested you are, the more focused you will be, and the easier you will find it to tackle your latest writing project or finish that next chapter.
As an author, you might already be trying to fix external factors that affect your writing. Being in the right environment, eliminating distractions, and finding inspiration wherever you work are all important. But, if you’re still struggling and can’t seem to focus, it’s essential to look inward and ensure you’re addressing any internal obstacles.
How Can You Create the Right Headspace for Writing?
There’s not just one perfect way to create a better headspace, because it’s an incredibly individual experience; what helps for someone’s headspace might make yours worse. Some of the greatest writers of all time have been known to have strange habits that clear their minds. Victor Hugo, for example, wrote while naked (though we don’t recommend that)!
However, one thing every writer should do to get into the proper headspace is to show up; you have to be willing to find the right headspace regularly through whatever means necessary.
Here are some practices that can help improve your headspace:
- Listening to specific music; or
- Taking a hot shower.
Whatever the practice, it’ll take some trial and error before you settle on one that works for you. Your goal should be to open your mind enough to get lost in your writing. That’s especially important if you’re a fiction writer and you need to get into the headspace to create a completely different world.
Creating a Writing Routine
One of the best ways to create a proper headspace for writing is by having a routine; those who produce quality content are generally beholden to some type of routine. It can be early in the morning before the day’s distractions are able to rear their heads, or in the evening after those distractions have been taken care of; the key is consistency. Try to side aside a fixed time for writing every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Creating a writing routine isn’t about when you write only, but also where. Designating a specific space for writing can also help you establish a routine. In your house, outdoors, or at a local coffee shop, it doesn’t matter! What it does is that you associate this space strictly with the habit of writing. Remember, the more often you write intentionally at a certain time and space of your choice, the more you are reinforcing the routine and entering the headspace you need to get creative.
The Importance of Self-Compassion
Self-compassion is paramount to maintaining motivation and navigating setbacks such as writer’s block. Without it, writers might give up on their pieces instead of editing and revising them to a point where they are satisfied. This is because writing can be a vulnerable endeavor, and experiencing setbacks is a natural part of the process that leads to success.
It might sound obvious, but any writer should engage in self-compassion by acknowledging and celebrating their efforts and progress. You might not meet your daily goal today as far as word count goes—but you can either lament what you didn’t achieve or celebrate what you did. One is infinitely more helpful, rewarding, and fulfilling. So be kind to yourself, and you’ll find the victories you acknowledge grow in quantity.
Maintaining Your Mental Health While Writing
Writing can take a toll on your mental well-being when you’re focused on it all the time, especially if you’re facing a deadline or you’re having trouble tapping into a creative mindset.
Whether you’re struggling to find the right headspace or not, you should prioritize your mental health through self-care, which doesn’t need to be anything extravagant or extreme. Instead, focus on the daily healthy habits that promote your overall wellness, like regularly exercising, eating healthy food, and getting enough sleep. Taking good care of your mental health can reduce stress and symptoms of anxiety or depression. When you’re less stressed, you’re more likely to be clear-headed and focused, so you can write freely.
If you’re, however, still feeling overwhelmed by your writing career or you’re having a hard time getting into the right headspace on your own, consider reaching out for help in some way. Lean on family and friends. Take a vacation that allows you to step away from work. Consider booking a writer’s retreat for a weekend or a couple of days. Not only is it a great place to collaborate with other writers and find inspiration, but you might also find others who struggle with the same worries.
Overcoming Writer’s Block
Writer’s block can and does happen to nearly every writer. It’s part of the craft, but that doesn’t mean you can’t overcome it. Freewriting, for example, can help you greatly in overcoming any blocks. It is when you just keep your pen moving on the page (or cursor across the screen) for a set amount of time, ignoring punctuation or comprehension — even repeating a singular phrase until something else comes to mind. If freewriting isn’t your thing, brainstorming alone or with a group, reading a new book, and even switching writing types are all viable options for breaking out of writer’s block. Just remember to be kind to yourself and patient as you navigate this obstacle.
The Importance of Taking Breaks
It might sound counter-intuitive, but in order to get as much writing done efficiently as possible, you have to take breaks. This keeps the mind “greased” so to speak, keeps you from burning out, and can be helpful to your overall mental health. This includes short breaks throughout the day as well as long-term breaks and vacations throughout the year. Work-life balance reminds us that, while we can stretch ourselves a bit from time to time, we must also allow ourselves time to reset and rebuild that elasticity.
You can’t force yourself to get into the right headspace for writing. Trying to do so will only add more stress. But by making some of the aforementioned tips a part of your routine, you can maintain a headspace that fosters a sense of freedom and focus while you write.