When you’ve gotta write, and write for long periods, or get lots of writing done in shorter periods, you want to get into the “flow state.” I’m sure some of you have heard about it. It’s that state of being when you’re IN THE STORY and you’re writing and you don’t really care about anything else. Santa could be landing on the roof, and you wouldn’t even notice because you’re writing and that’s ALL that’s happening. Flow-state writing also rarely stops to edit or fix things. If that does happen, it happens quickly and then it’s back to adding words. Flow-state writing is the holy grail for authors. Authors I know that achieve this with every single session get their books written fast. They stay productive and their books are clean and well-written.
So how does one achieve this flow state? I have some tips that I’ve gained in the past six months, all of which I use to help me get there and stay there for writing sessions. Let’s get to them!
1) Get everything else done first
Nothing can pop you out of the flow state like something hanging over your head. If you have business you need to do, GET IT DONE FIRST before sitting down to write. If your brain is preoccupied with that formatting you have to do, the ads you need to buy, that fight you had with your kid, or whatever, flow state is not going to happen. Get everything else done first and you’re more likely to fly high on the wings of words.
2) Set up beats ahead of time
You don’t have to be a plotter to know what you’re going to write ahead of time. If you want to achieve flow state, you need a plan going in. You don’t have to plot out your entire book, but getting ready to write, you should have some beats or sentences already down about what your session is going to work towards. It can be as simple as “This is the party scene. There’s a fight and someone sets fire to the counter.” Boom. You have something to write. The majority of writers who write fast and hit flow state consistently know what they want to write when they put fingers to keyboard.
3) Eliminate Distractions
Nothing will pop you out of writing faster than someone interrupting you. To achieve flow state, you need to turn off distractions. Some people say, turn off the internet, but I can’t do that because I use Brain.fm (see next tip), so instead I turn off all the distractions. On my Mac, I open the Notifications bar on the right and turn on Do Not Disturb so no notifications pop up while I’m writing. I close my browser too and turn on DND on my phone too. When I’m at home, I lock myself in the bedroom and don’t answer the door. I make sure I have a drink by my side and use the bathroom first too, Lol. Anything I can do to make sure nothing interrupts me!
Brain.fm may be controversial as it’s a paid service and sometimes it gives people headaches. But I urge you to try it out. I use the Focus section at least once per day to get into my writing, and I also especially use it while I’m dictating to help me block out the sound of my own voice. Brain.fm has come up numerous times in my authors groups and the majority of authors seem to love it. There are always a few though that complain of headaches, so don’t be surprised if this happens to you. It is worth it to stick to it and keep trying it. Nothing beats it, and I’ve listened to music, rain/thunder noise, cafe noise, etc. They all pale in comparison to Brain.fm. I have a lifetime membership, but if you google, you may find some codes for money off and they have a free trial. Go get it!
5) Walking and writing
And finally I recommend walking and writing at the same time. This one is also controversial it seems. Every time I mention it people ask me how I don’t break my neck or they brush it off as “I can’t do that.” People, give it a shot. Try a treadmill desk. With your legs moving and working, your brain disconnects and focuses on the writing. I switched to walking and dictating this year and it has been a godsend for me. Walking, dictating, and Brain.fm together and I hit my word count every time. Something about the combination puts me in the flow state immediately. I would not be a good person if I didn’t urge you to try it.