These days most entrepreneurs are blogging (if not, why not?) and all business owners regularly have to write other significant *stuff*. Just the other day, I helped a client write a job advertisement (using psychological tricks) to attract super-awesome candidates, for example.
Writing is important. It’s one of the most significant and common “acts of business” we have to perform. We all have varying levels of skill as writers, but we can learn better strategies at any point.
Despite the importance of writing and despite the ease of up-skilling, hardly anyone knows how to get in the zone to produce top quality written material. This is about having the state of creativity (or productivity, or whatever is relevant) on tap… ready to go, when ever you need it.
Sound like a skill you’d like to master? Use these 7 Psychological tips to flip the switch and turn on top-notch writing at will:
1. Find your ritual
Everyone has a ritual, like a set of emotional anchors, for accessing the perfect writing state (where things just flow). All good athletes have a ritual for getting in the zone – sometimes as simple as a quick bounce of the tennis ball, for good luck. Everyone who writes has a ritual for writing performance, but most people are not aware of them.
Have a think about last time you wrote in that perfect way… and remember the little things you did (environmentally and behaviorally) right before you got started. Find your ritual.
2. Have a clear outcome
So many people start of writing projects (especially the more creative ones, like blogging) without a clear outcome in mind. Then, they start deleting whole paragraphs saying “what rubbish!”.
The question is, how are you measuring what “good writing” looks like? What is your intention behind writing this piece? What would it look like, when finished? How would the reader respond?
These are all questions that clarify your outcome. It’s much easier to write successfully, when you know where you’re headed.
3. Find a creative environment
This one is simple and probably eye-rolling obvious. Thing is, few people understand the significance of the psychological implications of a bad writing environment.
If you tried to get good writing done at, say, a nightclub… imagine your mental state! Your unconscious mind anchors certain states and behaviors to specific environments. Therefor, having a special, reserved “creative space” is useful… and, attempting writing in regular, everyday environments will tend to focus you on everyday, distracts thoughts.
4. Get inspired by awesomeness
Want a shortcut to getting in that hyper-effective state? Go read something written by a genius.
Chances are they were in that “zone” when they wrote it and that’ll come through, between the lines. Your brain will pay attention and vicariously feed off the creativity of others.
5. Clear your head
Don’t try and transition from filing your taxes (or hanging out on twitter) direct to working on some creative project. Take a 4 minute break to just sit and be. Clear your head and then bring a decent game-face (and mind) to your writing.
6. Write at the right time
Inspiration, creativity and motivation tend to naturally ebb and flow. For me, it probably has more to do with my blood sugar than I’d like to admit.
Seize the day and write when your brain wants you to write. Disclaimer: Don’t write and drive.
7. Create your state
Above all, recognise that great writing isn’t dependent on some mysterious, external force. Your state, above all else, is what will determine the quality of your writing. We’re talking emotional state-of-mind. Your state is yours and yours alone. It is up to you to maintain it. After all, who else would you want to be responsible for your state?
When you own your state, great writing can happen whenever you want it to.
What do you think? How do you get in the zone for writing?