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Writers: Is it possible to schedule creativity?

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A routine may seem like the opposite of creativity, but it is absolutely essential harnessing special writing power. I didn’t accept that routines and scheduling were so integral to a writer’s life until well into my college education, but once I figured out my routine, the amount of writing I can get done is astonishing.

(Flickr: Beverley Goodwin)

(Flickr: Beverley Goodwin)

Structuring your creativity sounds very unnatural, I know, but just try these tips before you dismiss the idea of scheduled creativity.

Read: Reject perfection and just write

Simply start with these four tips and you’ll be on your way to writing every single day:

Set an alarm

This is the tip that changed my whole writing process. If you set an alarm every day and actually sit down to write something—even if it’s as little as a paragraph or a sentence—you will start training your brain to be creative at that time of day. Keep at it and, sooner than you think, you’ll be itching to write every day when that time comes around.

Write lists

These are your best friends. You don’t need any kind of special material; a scratch piece of paper will do the work your brain won’t. You can’t remember everything you want to accomplish and you’ll risk losing the ideas or burning out if you push yourself too hard. These are particularly useful for when it’s late at night and you’re desperate to go to sleep but you still have ideas you wanted to write through—leave them for tomorrow’s scheduled time and you’ll have built-in stuff to work on.

Plan it out

Again, no special equipment here. If you have a big project, break it down into smaller projects and write them down in your planner, calendar or another to-do list. Not everything gets done in one day. Check it before and after each writing session—again, you can’t remember everything.

Repeat your good days’ activities

If there are certain things you do before you have a good writing session, repeat them as you start your routine. They act as triggers in your brain to start thinking creatively. Whatever works for you, do them without shame. Your brain craves the repetition those activities provide, even if they seem counter-intuitive; I watch a few (sometimes mindless) YouTube videos before I start writing anything.

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Creativity is an amazing, almost ethereal force, but you can capture it and temper it into a force you can use every single day, without waiting for that ineffable Muse to strike. These four tips will give you a good base to start building up your own routine.

Nicole Aronis is an aspiring novelist and short story writer. She runs a writing advice and community blog at writerlywonderings.tumblr.com.

Nicole Aronis

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