Getting into the right frame of mind to start writing anything is daunting. When that writing is for your business, it’s especially challenging to sit down and get words out when there are countless tasks looming on your to-do list.
So how does a business leader get in the right frame of mind to write? We asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council to share some of their tried-and-true methods for clearing your head and beginning your next piece of writing. Here is what they said.
1. Take a Walk
Some of the greatest writers in history would take long walks before writing. The repetitive physical movement and the ability to observe the world around you really helps to get the creative juices flowing in your head. I recommend taking a walk before writing, or even in the middle if you find yourself stuck on a particular section.
There’s an old trick that I was exposed to at a young age. Before you begin your next writing assignment, take a few minutes to clear your head and meditate. You can do this by visually putting all of your stress and outside concerns in a mental file cabinet for easy access later. When you get rid of all of your mental baggage, you’ll find that it is much easier to sit down and write.
3. Listen to Familiar Music
I find that working to a specific soundtrack of songs I know and love help get me in the mood to write. I say familiar music because something new will take the focus off your writing and center it on the music. If you listen to music that you already love, it helps you develop a “groove” that will keep you focused and productive.
4. Limit Distractions
Personally, I find it impossible to get back into the right frame of mind to write when I’ve been distracted by something or someone. Before I sit down to write, I always make sure that all other tasks are delegated and that my employees know that I’m going to be busy for the next few hours. When you limit your distractions, it’s much easier to stay on task.
5. Read Something
To get into the right frame of mind to write, take a moment to get some inspiration before you start. Whether it’s reading a few pages of a fiction book you love or reading the latest blog post from someone you admire, reading something else will help inspire you and get you in the mood to write your own work.
6. Find a Quiet Space
Some people can work even in the most chaotic environment. I, however, need a completely calm, silent space in order to get in the right frame of mind to write content. I put my phone on silent or do not disturb mode, turn off the TV, and relax before I open Google Docs and dive in. Having a quiet space to collect my thoughts is important.
7. Write Something Fun First
If you have to write something for work that will take time and needs to be professional, write something fun first to get into the right frame of mind to start. Writing something fun will help kickstart your creativity and get you in the mood for writing something a bit more difficult. You can start off with a journal entry, a poem, fiction writing or even just a fun social media post.
8. Tell Yourself No One Will Read It
When I sit down to write, I tell myself, “No one will read this.” Obviously, the goal is for a lot of people to read the content I am writing, but if I take the pressure off myself to produce something of high quality, I tend to think more clearly. If you go into writing something thinking it has to be perfect, you are setting yourself up for failure.
9. Have a Conversation With Yourself
I often enjoy having a conversation in my head regarding the topic that I’m writing on. A short back and forth about what the topic is about, or what are the most important details. This allows me to hear my thought process clearly and gives me clarity regarding my approach. Imagining myself as two different people having a conversation helps me negate and evolve my thought.
10. Write Late at Night or Early in the Morning
I love writing when everyone else is resting for the night. It is the time when you can cut out every distraction. Nobody is going to call, email or come up to you and ask a question. Night owls like me can work late, and early risers can start early. You can work for as long as you like so you can focus without limits and let the words flow through you.
11. Block Out Time for It on Your Calendar
Setting aside time on your calendar for you and others to see allows you to stay focused and respect your schedule. While it’s easy to say that you’re going to limit distractions during this time, it’s easy to push off writing when a more urgent matter comes up. If you’ve dedicated your time, however, you’ve already made the decision that you are unavailable.
12. Freewrite to Get Your Thoughts Out
To get myself into a strong state of mind for writing, I’ll first start by just getting my thoughts out onto a document. This gets me focused and helps me get my thoughts out without any pressure. By doing a short freewrite, I find my mind gets focused and before I know I’m focused, and can edit and see a piece coming together. Allowing yourself to just write first helps the creativity flow.
13. Make Writing a Daily Habit
For me to get into the right frame of mind to write, I must do it daily. Even if I only have 10 minutes, I like to write a little something every day. The routine makes putting out a new blog or article incredible simple. It eliminates the need to feel “ready” or “inspired.” Once the habit was instilled in me, I became able to quickly produce quality content no matter what my mindset is.
14. Create a Process and Stick to It
The key is to have a process and to stick to it. When working on a story, I always create an outline first that includes an argument and links to resources backing it up. By following this process, even if I’m tired, stressed or just don’t feel up to it, I can come out with a great piece of content no matter what my frame of mind was when I opened my laptop.
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.