Creative Writing - How To Find and Maintain Your Unique Creative Writing Rhythm

Dr. Purushothaman
November 25, 2013


One of the most important elements to being able to write regularly, deeply, and consistently as a creative writer is to be able to find your own unique creative writing rhythm.

If we don't learn to listen to, and tune in to, the unique creative rhythm that each of us have, we'll find it a constant battle to remain motivated and productive in our creative writing projects.

Professional athletes and sports players talk about being "in the zone", where they're performing at a peak level and everything flows. We can apply the same principle to writing.

So how do we know when we're not "in the zone", when we're out of sync with our natural creative rhythm?

Some of the tell tale signs are:

Writing inconsistent amounts - 10 pages flow freely one day, but the day after you struggle to string together 10 words.

Being obsessive about tiny details - you spend hours re-writing a single difficult line 30 times, and eventually go back to the first version you came up with.

Sticky Shoes Syndrome - you just can't get going, writing feels about as easy as wading through treacle in concrete boots. With an elephant on your back.

Losing objectivity - struggling to see the bigger vision in the project you're writing. It's like trying to view a mountain range from ground level, instead of flying above in a helicopter to get the overall view of the landscape.

Feeling out of control - you're aware that sometimes your creative writing flows like Niagara Falls and other days it's barely as fruitful as a dripping tap. But you have no idea why and you don't feel in control.

So what's the secret to overcoming some of these struggles and finding YOUR unique creative rhythm?

Put simply: experimenting and testing.

If you keep doing the same things over and over - the same things that aren't working - then of course they're going to continue to not work. And you'll continue to be inconsistent, erratic and frustrated in your creative writing.

Now I'm not suggesting you have to become an emotionless robot, churning out perfect page after perfect page of creative writing.

Not at all.

There are natural peaks and lulls in our minds and bodies, in our moods and in our personal circumstances. They're part of being a human being.

But if we learn to recognize these patterns, learn to find when we're naturally at our best, at our peaks, we can begin to find our creative rhythm.

And when we do that, we reduce the kind of tell tale signs like those above we feel when we're struggling to create.

So we're able to create more consistently, more abundantly and more deeply than ever before.

How do you experiment then to help you find your natural creative rhythm?

Here are some of the factors to play around with and see what works best for you:

- The time of day when you write.

- How long you write for.

- How you cope with or eliminate distractions.

- The materials you use to write with.

- Where you write.

- What breaks you have, how long and how often.

- What you do (if anything) to prepare yourself to write.

- Whether you use background music or sounds, or silence.

- How you have your writing space set up physically.

- How you decide when your writing time is over for that session.

Experiment with just one of these variables at a time or you won't be able to track the changes effectively.

Once you've found the best way of working with that particular factor, keep that fixed and move on and adjust the next one.

Follow these guidelines and you'll be well on your way to finding your own unique creative rhythm. You'll begin too to see your creative writing reach new levels.

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