Are you stuck in a rut? Do you sit down to write and do the same things every time? Turn on the computer? Open your draft? Stare at the page? Then pray the words come? I do. For the past month, I have thought long and hard about ways I can renew myself as a writer.
RENEWAL is not change. Change means to transform or give something a totally new form—like writing my novel in a journal or using a speech-to-type program. But the basic writing process is not one we can totally remake.
I don’t know about you, but no matter what CHANGES I make, I am still going to have to turn on the computer at some point and type words if I want to get my book written in a format I can send to editors.
So how can I bring renewal to this process? The key I have decided is to focus in on that little word inside renewal—new.” Here are three things I came up with to make typing my novel draft new each morning.
Move the computer to a new location. Find a spot with a view or a different view. Work outside on a nice day. Try another room or a porch. Or even someone else’s porch.
Invigorate your fingers. Instead of unconsciously dropping your hands on the keyboard and chugging away, take a moment to do a simple set of hand movements. I have a collection of stones from which I pick one and roll between my hands or pinch between my fingers, and rub over my palms.
Or you can do one or two of the many finger exercises found on the web. (Here is a slideshow of six such exercises https://www.sharecare.com/health/bone-joint-muscle-health/slideshow/hand-exercises ) Increase the feeling of typing anew by repeating this finger action every once in a while as you type, perhaps at the end of scene or a chapter and feel your hands and fingers find new life.
Renew your brain. Instead of diving into your manuscript, take a moment to breathe deeply and oxygenate your brain. Deep breathing has been shown to increase one’s attention span so you will be able to focus on your writing longer. Repeat every time you come to a natural stop or run out of words to write.
Keep the practice simple. Here is the method I use. Sitting straight in my chair, I inhale as deeply as I can through my nose and then exhale as slowly as possible through my mouth. I do this about ten times and then start writing.