Dive into writing readiness with these 5 tips
Shawna Ayoub Ainslie offers some suggestions to set yourself up for success before you even start writing—especially if you’re writing about tough topics.
Writing readiness is more than having a dedicated writing space and practice.
Especially in the case of writing harder stories or traumas, it’s important to prepare mentally and emotionally for putting memories into words. If you are suiting up for a deep dive into rough waters—or even just a marathon laptop session—here are a few tips to increase your chances of success.
Keep a floatation device handy.
Perhaps you benefit from yoga (see this grounding practice designed for writing through trauma), running, singing, weight lifting, or meditation. Perhaps you love to cook, clean, garden, or paint. Maybe strumming a guitar, keeping a gratitude journal, or walking every evening after dinner is how you recharge after an energy-depleting day. Use these tools to recover from a hard writing session, too—to find up when down is all you see and air feels scarce.
Make certain you have the time you need to ease into and recover from writing. Some topics will sit heavy inside you, so plan time to digest before you hit the water. Consider these self-care practices part of your writing process and make time and space for them in your life the same way you do for writing.
Use the buddy system.
Make a commitment with a friend to write together, or write when you know they are available for an emergency phone call. Let them be your lifeline. When you think you can no longer tread, a friend will reel you in. Return the favor when necessary and you might make a lifelong writing buddy.
Check in with yourself.
Make a habit of writing when it feels right to establish trust with yourself. If you’re having a bad day, or week, or month, consider choosing another topic or project to work on, or set limits on your writing time before moving to another activity. Don’t motor away from the docks when you see a squall coming. Trust your instincts. Know when to stick to dry land.
Remember, you are safe.
Even if you are writing your history, it is past. It is not right here, right now. Ground yourself in the present and you’ll be more productive and stable as you mentally and emotionally wander into the past to write your truth. Remember, you are safe. Let this mantra be your life vest.
Writing can be an intentional positivity practice that will serve you throughout your life. Use the above tools to ensure your writing is happy and healing.
How do you prepare to write, especially if you’re going to be writing about something difficult? Have you or will you use any of Shawna’s tips? Share with us in the comments!
Related reading: 3 self-care tips for writers
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