How I Get My Writing Groove On – Part 2

by jenn on April 20, 2010

in Writing

MuseCubes

Last week, in my How I Get My Writing Groove On – Part 1, I shared some practical actions that helped me with finishing my manuscript.

In this post, I offer some resources and tools that help me get my writing groove on.

  • MuseCubes: My pal Gretchen Wegner created these nifty dice called MuseCubes. One cube has a movement and the other has a sound. Nothing like a howl and a bounce or a whoop and a dance to get out of your head and into your body; a great cure for writer’s block.
  • Levenger’s Circa notebooks: I love Circa notebooks. They’re a cross between a spiral notebook and a 3-ring binder, which makes it easy to move pages around. When I gathered all of my existing material, I organized everything in a Circa notebook with a tab for each chapter. Seeing it in “book” form helped me to realize I had a lot more than I thought I did, and it helped me play with the flow of the content.
  • Concentrate: The Mac application Concentrate worked miracles for helping me focus on writing. I set it for one hour and had it block e-mail, social networking sites, Google, etc. The two sites I would allow myself to reference regularly, though, included Dictionary.com and this great phrase thesaurus.
  • Micromovements: I got a lot of inspiration and forward momentum from taking SARK’s Juicy Pens Thirsty Paper workshop. My micromovements wheel helped me get into action again quickly after feeling stuck. If you can’t take her workshop, her book is great, too!
  • Playlists: Listening to music helps put me in a writing zone. But since I get distracted by lyrics when I’m writing, I created a 30-min, 60-min, and a 6-hour playlist of musical scores and groovy instrumental tunes. Some highlights include:
    • The Shopgirl soundtrack
    • El Michels Affair – Enter the 37th Chamber and Sounding Out the City
    • Beastie Boys – The In Sound From Way Out! and The Mix-Up
    • Thievery Corporation – Radio Retaliation

I now have a Pavlovian thing going so anytime I hear those songs, I’m conditioned to get my writing groove on. BTW, if you have some music to recommend, please let me know!

  • Visual cues: For months and months, the wallpaper on my iPhone was my “Keep on writing, and writing, and writing” sketch! I also had a “I am a published author” vision board on my iPhone. These visual reminders inspired me and kept me focused on my goal.
  • Post-it Note Project Plan: I created a flexible timeline using Post-its to map out my key milestones. While I knew I had a big-picture view of all the things that needed to happen, I usually focused in on just the tasks for that week so that I wouldn’t get overwhelmed. It helped me pace out my chapters and revisions and helped me reach the finish line.

For a few more tips, last year I did a video interview on BlogHer about tips for curing writer’s block.

Also, fellow coach Cynthia Morris is offering an online writing course called Make Writing a Happy Habit that sounds fantastic. Participating in a structured group activity like this is a great way to get support and accountability for your writing. I used a book coach and I went on a weekend writer’s retreat for structure and accountability.

And really, all of the tools and tips don’t mean a thing if they give you one more thing to do besides write/create. Which means, you guessed it… the best advice to get your writing groove on is to just sit your butt down and write! So go write, right now!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Connie April 20, 2010 at 4:03 pm

I’m all about your post-it-note plan!! I created one of my own even.

Big hugs!

Rebecca April 20, 2010 at 4:44 pm

I love all of everything in this post, Jenn! Thanks for sharing. I’ve already downloaded the Concentrate tool and am planning to check out the vision board app. Oh, and the Circa notebooks look amazing. You’ve inspired me!

Gina Gold April 20, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Wonderful ideas and resources! Thanks for sharing, Jen!

Lisa Baldwin April 20, 2010 at 7:26 pm

How could I resist a post with Beastie Boys in the title? I couldn’t, of course.

The In Sound From Way Out! is one of my favorites, too. Also groovy: Ethiopiques 4. Registers an 11 on the groove-o-meter (with extra points for retro-ness) and feels a lot like In Sounds.

Thanks for a yummy post, Jen!

Gretchen April 20, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Jenn, thanks so much for the MuseCubes shout out! I’m thrilled to know they are actually getting used for their intended purpose. Yay!!! And I just ordered the Circa notebooks. So much of what you have here is right on for my academic coaching clients as well.

Katrina April 21, 2010 at 9:55 am

More fabulous advice! I’ll be referencing this post often!

Cynthia Morris April 21, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Great strategies and practices! The post it note practice is hugely helpful – seeing it all mapped out and then being able to focus on one week at a time. I love how the simplest things work best!

Thanks for sharing the news about my course. You’re a sweetheart!

I am on my way to check out Concentrate. What a great idea for writers!

I’m so excited about your book. Thanks for doing all that work so we creative types can succeed more easily at business!

Barbara Lazarony April 24, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Thanks for the great ideas Jennifer!

Download the MuseCubes as an iphone app, it will make you sigh/laugh/groan with glee.

Congrats on your book, you made the vision real

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