Taking the time to prepare for writing goes a long way in ensuring that you actually get some writing done. Here’s a list of things you want to consider before you put pen on paper. I think it is a great process that will help you establish an enriching writing practice.
FIND THE RIGHT PLACE
You want a spot that is comfortable with minimal to no distractions. This allows you to get into the process and write. I sometimes do my deepest writing in bed or at the breakfast bar in my kitchen. Feel free to experiment with various location in and around your home as sometimes the most obvious places aren’t necessarily the best.
ESTABLISH THE RIGHT TIME
You know your schedule and your rhythm. Look at what your days looks like and pick a time that will allow you to write with consistency and without interruptions. Look at the rhythm of your day, when your energy is at peak or your desire to write may be at its lowest. Use this as a guide on when would perhaps be the best time to write and feel free to experiment. I prefer to write early in the morning, before I get into my day and at the end of the night, just before I fall asleep.
FORGET ABOUT THE MECHANICS
The beautiful thing about this sort of writing is that the approach is not academic so you don’t have to worry about grammar, spelling or your not so great handwriting. So relax and get some writing done and don’t overthink what to write, too. Just write what’s on your mind and heart. You can see this post for some writing prompts. Just write!
FIND THE MEDIUM THAT WORKS FOR YOU
You can write in a journal, notepad or on your computer. You can write longhand or shorthand. If for some reason you feel moved to write and you don’t have writing material on hand, you can even use an app on your phone. Don’t get too hung up on the medium. I prefer to write in a sturdy journal that is dedicated to daily writing. I actually recommend writing in a journal but I’d rather you pick a medium that you will use faithfully and will inspire writing. Before I became committed and focused on writing daily, I wrote on anything I could get my hands on at the time. This resulted in me having my writing scattered. Now I have my journal at hand always and I’ve found that keeping my writing in one place allows me to look over various days or months. An interesting pattern forms and I can see growth, depth, resolution and clarity on various matters. So I encourage you to keep your writing in a source of your choosing specifically dedicated to this type of writing.
Speaking of writing material, you want to choose something that can stand up to daily writing and will not break apart when you write furiously or your tears and words mingle. Spiral bound journals are great because they allow you to write in comfortably as they can open flat but if you don’t handle well the pages may perforate. Journals with thick spines are generally sturdy but can be uncomfortable to write in. You want something that is sturdy enough that it can be stored for a long time but it must be comfortable to write in. We can’t forget pens now can we? You want to use pens that won’t fade when you look back at what you wrote over the months and you want to avoid pens where the ink carries on to other pages, making it hard to read. You can also use highlighters and markers too, if you fancy highlighting certain things. Feel free to experiment with different mediums to find the one that works for you. Just be sure to write!
KEEPING YOUR WRITING SAFE
When you write from your heart or you write to heal, you want to ensure that your words are for your eyes only, unless you choose to share them with others. This is important because you may write about things that you don’t want others to see or know about. The purpose of your writing is so that you can explore things deep within yourself. No one should stumble across this casually because to me, if someone were to open my journal and read the things I wrote, it would be as if they had gotten into my head, heart or soul. They would see my soul, world and thoughts laid bare, on paper. I would feel like every bit of me was exposed.
I recommend that you find a spot to keep your journals safe. It’s a place others aren’t likely to stumble across it. You can keep it in a locked cupboard or drawer. Some people like myself have taken the direct approach of asking family members to respect my journal and not open it even if I accidentally leave it lying around. If you feel that none of these approaches may work for you, you can consider journaling on your computer or creating a private online journal using WordPress or some other platform you may be comfortable with. Some people feel a measure of healing and satisfaction from their writing so much, that after doing a piece, they would rather burn or destroy it. I don’t ever see myself getting to the point of wanting to burn or destroy my writing because I’m just too sentimental and I like to see how my writing progresses and transforms over time, but hey, different strokes for different folks. Whatever you decide on, just write!
So let’s wrap this post up. Make the commitment to the process and try to write for at least 15 minutes a day. You can write for more if you want or less if that’s all you can manage. Just write. In a future post we will explore how you can write on your computer or using an app on your phone as this is a preferred medium for others. Until then, I hope you found this post useful. Let me know if you have any questions or chime in below with your comments.
Carlana Charles is the visionary and editor-in-chief of FemmePowered. She is a womanist, writer, speaker, story midwife and facilitator of meaningful and engaging conversations. When she is not working in or on FemmePowered, she can be found resting, baking, reading or scribbling furiously in her journal whilst sipping wine or coffee, sometimes both at the same time. She is currently working on her first book and hopes to release it in September 2017.