Writing: The Flow


I’ve been promising myself that I will get back to Billie Blanks for months now. I cheated on him once. Her name was Jillian Michaels and let’s just say those six weeks together was something else, but eventually I stopped seeing her too. I realized I enjoyed Tabo a lot better and vowed I would get back into it. The problem is I’ve been out of commission so long it’s hard to get back into it. I hate the nauseating feeling I get those first couple of days back, the worst. So I pretty much blame that and prolong another day. But what does this have to do with writing?

I love routine. Not so much for the routine itself, but for the organization it brings to my day. While I don’t perform the exact same tasks each day, I love knowing where things go and how they should be done; following an exact path. There is a problem however with routines and schedules and such: breaking them. Writing takes so much concentration and focus that I notice that the more I break into the routine of writing each day it slows me way down. It’s like trying to start exercising again. Once you’re exercising on a daily basis and are in a position to keep doing it, it’s really not so bad. It may take time to start, but once you start and are used to getting up every morning and hitting the pavement or hitting the gym your good. When your momentum is up, you’re up. But when you slow down and especially when you stop, it takes twice the energy to get back up again and continue the flow. I find the same is true for writing.

I would tell you not to miss a writing day, but I don’t really believe that. Instead I want to tell you to balance your writing life. While writing every single day keeps you in the habit, you can also get distracted inside your own head. You’ve been in the groove so long you haven’t the time to come up for air and see what the rest of the world looks like. As such you miss opportunities to write, influences that could have provoked a great story. Your writing sure, but you’re also too into yourself. You have not given your mind time to rejuvenate for a chance to birth fresh ideas. It’s like editing your own work, at some point you have to give your eyes rest or you won’t catch the constant flow of mistakes so easily recognized by everyone else. Instead, write as often as possible, but take a day or two and don’t write at all. In fact, try not to even think about writing on these days. I know I know I’m talking crazy now. I know that some people (like me) have very sensitive minds, that is, whether it’s writing or exercising its best not to stop at all. Any break can make the next move a great struggle. But, when you have the time to think about something outside the craft not only will it give boost to the creative mind, it also gives life to the work flow.

This is not about slowing all the way down and please don’t stop! Do that and your pen’s going to weigh a lot more than it actually does, trust me on this. But this is about balancing your time. Now that you have set time aside to write, give it the nurturing it needs by creating a balance. Write often, but stop every now and then to focus on something else without getting comfortable in your laziness. You really only need a day or two away from your writing to nurture the groove and get back to the work flow.

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Yecheilyah Ysrayl is an author, book blogger and poet of black historical fiction and poetry. She also writes inspirational nonfiction and urban fantasy. "I write to restore black historical truth for the freedom of all people." Visit her online at yecheilyahysrayl.com.

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