How to Get What’s in Your Head onto the Page

by Sarah Tun

Get out of the rut.

There are so many ideas…. and so many distractions.

How do you manage to make the time to focus and choose amongst the many ideas that float around in your mind in order to get onto the page something concrete and worthy of reading?

That’s today’s question.

And here are some steps towards achieving a satisfactory answer.

Here’s how to get that story, plot outline, poem, or article that you desperately want to put out into the reading public, onto the page….

  1. Set time aside: every day, consistently, with a Sabbath day of rest, 1 hour at the same time six of seven days a week. Start today. Choose the time that will work best for you: morning, afternoon, evening, middle of the night — whatever will get you going – and staying – at your desk.
  2. Focus: do not worry about what you’ll produce, but wait upon the LORD, wait upon your mind, allow the thoughts to gel and then, start to write.
  3. Use a timer: commit to 1 hour. Don’t let distractions get you down. Turn off the notifications, turn off the phone, turn off anything that will take you away from your desk and lead you away from your mission.
  4. Be kind to yourself: allow the grace of GOD to steer you, rather than dismay or criticism in your head to attack you. Enjoy this time.
  5. Start with a mind map: For a book project, consider: Where do you want to get to? That’s the starting frame to put in the centre of the paper. Allow spokes to be drawn from that centre frame. Brainstorm (rather than assess or judge) and put down those ideas that move through your mind, onto the page.

OR

To start with your smaller project: simply start to write. Choose one idea allow your fingers (or pen on paper — my preferred choice for first drafts) to flow.

  1. Sit back, if your fingers or your back ache, or you feel satisfied you’ve accomplished something, or your alarm goes off, pause. Read back what you’ve written. Keep going if you can, or stop if you must. But smile: You’ve got yourself out of the rut and you’re closer than you were to where you want this project in your mind to lead.
  2. If you have nothing on paper, it really doesn’t matter. You’ve begun to process what’s in your head. Start again tomorrow, same time, same place, same project.
  3. One day at a time, you’ll get to where you want to go when you take the steps needed to make the journey.
  4. It sounds simple. Discipline is simple: it’s a commitment to consistency. It may not be easy but it is uncomplicated.
  5. Praise GOD. He’s given you creativity, and hope, and a voice. Please: use it!

It’d be great to hear from you:

How do you get your work onto your page? Have you tried this way of working before? Did it work for you?

All discussion is welcome and all ideas can be helpful. We’re supporting one another in our joint mission to write.

Sarah Tun is an author, developmental editor, ghostwriter as well as a professional voice for voice overs and narrations.

© Sarah Tun

 

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8 thoughts on “How to Get What’s in Your Head onto the Page”

  1. I’m doing NaNoWriMo for the fifth time. I’ve succeeded each time in reaching the word count, firs by preparation and second my following Ms Tun’s consistency in writing. It works!
    Joseph Conrad, one of the best-paid writers of his time, also used a target of 1000 words per day. It works for all of us. The only discipline that really counts is self-discipline!

  2. Dark chocolate is my coffee. I have it when my energy drops and my attention wanes. I take breaks. And I try to remember this: “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:5)

  3. I love that you include Sabbath in the plan. I set aside Sunday, the Lord’s Day. No writing except in a journal.

    I am writing retreat sessions right now. So I free write, let simmer, print, pray, and add thoughts in the margins…rearrange. repeat.

  4. Thanks Sarah for your article,

    I write consistently early in the morning. At other times I use the Notebook function on my phone and email the note to myself so that I can incorporate it into my Word documents.

    I also take lots of breaks.

    Regards and God bless,

    Ian

  5. You wrote: “Set time aside: every day, consistently, with a Sabbath day of rest, 1 hour at the same time six of seven days a week. Start today. ”

    Great wisdom.
    Too many authors have convinced others “to write every single day.”
    Problem is, when God’s holy, infallible, inerrant, inspired Word is disobeyed, those who think they know more than God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and the Holy Spirit, suffer. For writers, it is writers’ block at best and total burnout at worst.

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