Writer’s Way
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Writer’s Way

Sleep, write, sleep!

How to to ease your way back into writing after the holidays.

photo by Juliane Liebermann, Unsplash.

I hope you had a good holiday season. I hope your family events were not too disrupted by the Rona and if they were, that you managed to find a way through. Whatever the case, now it’s time to put it all behind us and get back to the writing. Which is not so easy when you are still in holiday mode or trying to catch up on the holiday you didn’t get to have.

So here is my technique for getting back in the zone.

It’s called the Tidy, Slide, Sleep and Write Method.

  1. The first step is fairly obvious. Get your house in order — Tidy the kitchen, the living room, the desk, the workspace. Don’t go overboard, no major spring cleaning, just getting things in order, getting things in place. People think of this as procrastination but it’s not. Tidying prepares the mind, lets it know — soon we are about to start, soon we are going to get serious.

2. The Slide is a little more subtle. It requires you to leave some materials lying about to pick up and browse. Some books you used for research in the past but haven’t looked for a while, some old notebooks, scrapbooks you used for jotting, some music from the era you are writing in. The slide may also suggest bringing in certain colours, textures, fabrics, scents, smells or objects, that help create the atmosphere you need to enter into the world of your book.

3. The Sleep is a key part of this method. I used to berate myself when tiredness descended, used to try all sorts of methods to keep myself at the computer. Now I give in to the bliss of napping and even use it to help solve my writing problems. Asking the subconscious or the dreaming state for help is a old trick. But don’t expect obvious answers. In the Sleep, Write, Sleep technique all you have to do is get back to the writing as soon as you wake, then watch the solutions work themselves out on your page. That’s why it’s great to have your lolling places already set up: a comfortable day bed with ample cushions, an armchair you can sink into, a comfy stool near a window with a view. And don’t forget to scatter some of your slide triggers about, ready for browsing or contemplating when you emerge fresh from your forty winks.

4. The Write component is simple, and it’s where this is all leading. But you need to go gentle here, not berate yourself that you have spent all this time preparing and you haven’t even started yet. All you need do is open your computer to your draft, then step away, loll about, read some of your old research materials and as already mentioned, if sleep overtakes you allow it to come.

On Day One, don’t try to write too much, leave off when you get tired, have another little loll about, another little nap, jot down some notes and go out for a walk. Cook some dinner, watch a movie, sleep.

On Day Two, go straight to the computer and get cracking. Once you are in, you are in! Grab a tea or coffee and some breakfast at some point but write for as long as you can. If you get tired sleep, and remember when you wake up get straight back to the computer. Continue this way through out the day and into the evening if you like. Go again the next day and so on. Consult your research materials, loll about with them in between writing sessions. Don’t forget to eat. Small meals are best. And don’t forget to walk. I like evening walks these days. That means I can get straight to the computer in the morning when I wake.

Continue this way for a week or ten days. Your study will look like a right mess by the end. Doesn’t matter. What matters is you are back in your book, where you love to be!

© Jan Cornall Jan 2022

Photo by Robert Anasch, Unsplash

Jan Cornall supports writers of all genres to realise their writing goals.

Through international writing retreats, mentoring services and workshops she has helped numerous authors get published.

If you need help with your writing project contact Jan at: writersjourney.com.au

Follow Jan on Instagram @_writersjourney

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