Friday Speak Out!: Jump Start Your Creativity With a Pre-Writing Routine

Friday, September 02, 2022
By Kelly L. Stone

Time to write is sparse, so you need to sit down and get going quickly. Even if you only have 15 or 20 minutes to get words on the page, springing into a creative state of mind is as simple as one-two-three when you establish a pre-writing routine.

A routine, or doing the same tasks in the same order before you sit down and write, establishes a habit and engages the subconscious mind; you can train your brain to shift into an alpha mode just by creating a routine. It helps you make the transition from day-to-day life (work, kids, chores) to your creative project quickly and easily.

The use of a pre-writing routine is a common tool among successful authors. For instance, Ernest Hemingway is said to have sharpened 12 pencils before he looked at his work-in-progress.

Pre-Writing Routine Examples

Use some of these ideas to create your own pre-writing routine. The key here is to limit it to three tasks, do it the same way every day, and take no more than 20 minutes to complete:

1. Get Your Work Space Ready: Make your tea, organize your research materials, check your e-mail (and then close your browser!), gather all your writing materials, put on your writing music, shut the door to your office and sit down to write!

2. Meditate: Relaxation and creativity go hand in hand. Set aside a few minutes before you write to do some deep breathing and meditation (exercise also works).

3. Light Candles: Pick a few scents you enjoy and fire them up!

4. Journal: Get your internal editor out of the way first.

5. Write With Your Eyes Closed: This is a trick bestselling author CJ Lyons recommends, especially if you feel blocked. Sit at your computer and write with your eyes closed until your mind loosens up.

6. Re-read the Previous Day's Work: Review what you wrote the day before to regain focus on the work at hand and stimulate the creative process. Some writers call this "getting back into the story." (You can also try another Hemingway trick: stop writing in the middle of a sentence so that you have a jumping off point the next day.)

A pre-writing routine focuses your mind and helps you gain access quickly and easily to your subconscious creativity. Just remember: no more than three tasks, do it the same way every time, and take no more than 20 minutes to complete it.


Kelly L Stone ( is the author of the TIME TO WRITE series: TIME TO WRITE (Adams Media), THINKING WRITE: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind (Adams Media) and LIVING WRITE: The Secret to Inviting Your Craft Into Your Daily Life (Adams Media). Her work has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul and Cup of Comfort anthologies, as well as Family Circle magazine, Writer’s Digest, Cat Fancy, and others. She has spoken at conferences around the country on how to achieve writing success, and helps other writers through classes, coaching, and one-on-one consultation capitalize on the the power of the subconscious mind for maximum creativity and results.

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


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