by Kris Maze
My last post at WITS went in-depth on the aspects of Flow and how to use the psychology of writing to get into the Creative Zone. How does that apply to our misconceptions about getting into the mood for writing?
Here are a few scenarios common to writers. What do you think? Do you agree?
Take a look at this video, if you want a quick refresher on How to Enter the Flow State . If you are ready for a mini quiz, see how Getting Into Flow can get you past these common writing issues.
Pop Quiz Time! Let’s see what your opinions are on these typical writer ideals about getting into the Flow Zone. Fact or Fiction?
1. Writer’s Block doesn’t really exist. It’s only in your mind.
The parts of the brain that use to function daily can trip up our flow in many ways. Research shows that we override our self-consciousness, worry and anxiety, and social expectations, we are more likely to experience Flow than when we sit at our desks with those thoughts competing for our mental bandwidth
2. Writers are creatures of habit and need a perfect writing space for optimal flow.
According to the studies on Flow, it turns out that having the perfect setup isn’t as important as we may think. The way to get into Flow is to understand what makes your mind relax, focus, and find a balance between the task at hand and the skills you apply to it.
Some authors are very successful at catching a creative wave spontaneously and can tease out the words on the spot. But when a creative burst doesn’t drop out of the sky into our literary laps, we can and should intervene to create those circumstances.
We all relate to when the words are just not flowing. Consider this mini-checklist of common factors writers can use to optimize their chances of Getting into the Flow:
____ Healthy Snacks on hand
____ Warm or cold beverages near by
____ Slight caffeine boost
____ Ambient music or white noise
____ Sound cancelling headphones (a new favorite of mine)
____ A ‘do not disturb’ sign on the literal and digital door
3. When writers stick to one genre or type of writing, they experience more flow.
FACTION Yes, both. Let me explain! This can depend on a few factors.
There is a reason genre fiction writers seem more prolific than their literary counterparts. Writing within the constraints, tropes, and requirements for the genre can free the writer’s mind of some of the heavy decision making. The framework has been largely created for them and they are carefully constructing new stories from those rules.
Literary novelists, who by contrast may take years to produce works have more pieces of the creative puzzle to solve in order to create something new and palatable to readers.
In an article on Creative Blockages, assistant professor of Psychology, Baptiste Bardot, describes well-known authors and how prolific they are. For example, horror writers like Stephen King and Anne Rice have limited choices as to themes, setting, and plot. Their literary counterparts have fewer formatting constraints leading to more solutions to resolve in their novels.
Creativity by definition is not just creating new ideas, but the novel creation of ideas that make sense. Creativity requires lateral thinking and when writers tackle new types of writing they approach the new rules and constructs in ways that expand their thinking.
This study by Arne Dietrich, dives into the types of thinking writers use. They may be deliberate and follow prescribed steps or follow decisions made in a more spontaneous way. This may sound more familiar to those who consider themselves Plotters of Pantsers, since those preferences demonstrate a writer’s favored type of thinking.
The key to using flow to be more creative is to understand that writing lots of words does not equate creative output. There are several computerized idea generators available to writers, but these apps cannot craft best sellers without the gifter authors who knit plots and characters into meaningful works of art.
4. Writers should feel the emotions in order to write a convincing emotional work.
According to the research on Flow, emotions can block a writer’s access to Flow since emotions are one of the cognitive processes that can detract from unfettered thinking that characterizes freedom of thought.
Other ways emotion blocks our writing are due to possible affliction from one’s inner critic. It can also project one’s self more onto the page, which has an adverse effect on using Flow.
Channeled emotional energy can help a writer if they are able to “make sense” of the words and build up the rest of their work. If it does, add that spice and make it naughty or nice.
How did you do? Did you agree with all of these? I hope your writing life is productive and fulfilling, but if not I hope you find ways to get back into your writing groove soon! What hacks and helps do you have for our writing community today?
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Kris Maze is an author, freelance writer, and teacher. She enjoys writing twisty, speculative fiction with character driven plots. After years of reading classic literature, mysteries, and thrillers, she began to write and publish her own books. She also writes for various publications including a regular post at the award winning Writers in the Storm Blog.
When she isn’t spending time with her favorite people and pets, Kris Maze is taking pictures, hiking, or pondering the wisdom of Bob Ross. You can follow her author journey at her website at KrisMazeAuthor.com
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