A Non-Linear Approach To A Good Writing Session

A Non-Linear Approach To A Good Writing Session

The elements of success.

I’m not going to pretend all writers write the same way. We’ve all heard stories of different famous authors doing crazy things to get into their writing groove (i.e., writing in one’s underwear, only writing lying down, etc.). For me personally, the following ingredients tend to make a writing session successful more often than not. I try to cycle through these whenever I write—whether my project is a novel, short story, article or poem—and try to obtain the best outcome possible, which of course is a complete and polished piece.

As the title suggests, this approach is non-linear. For any given writing session, I may have a different combination of any of these factors. Sometimes I might have just one. Others, four or five.

Now the interesting part for you—since I can’t control your writing factors, I am offering this list of my non-linear influences in the hopes that doing so will spark a new inspiration in you. Alternatively, we may share a good number of these and we can geek out together.

At any rate, what follows is a fluid approach to what helps me have a good writing session. Feel free to borrow/rearrange/experiment with these however you wish.

Get in the “bubble”

There are numerous ways to create the bubble. This is the state of being alone—at least alone enough to write without distraction. Methods include writing with door shut or putting a sign up to let others know you are in the zone; they also include putting on headphones and cranking the volume until other people can hear it, taking one’s writing utensils to a newplace—like a café or the woods—or simply employing one’s power to ignore everything and everyone.

That last one takes a lot of practice. It may or may not require incredible zen abilities or use of resting “angry face.”

Make a cup of tea

Black teas help me write in the morning, chai teas help in the afternoon and herbal teas help in the evening (although it’s not uncommon to find me sipping a mug of green chai after dinner). If possible, I recommend the longest-lasting method of serving oneself tea: the almighty teapot. I highly recommend this to any writing/tea enthusiasts.

I have oft wondered why tea helps me write. Is it the brain-clearing health benefits? The warm, snuggly feeling that settles in one’s chest after taking a sip? The satiating of the munchies? We may never know, but for now, I am more than satisfied with the creativity-boosted results.

Alternatively: see coffee, hot chocolate and in the summertime, iced tea.

Consult inspirational material

This may come either before or during a writing session, although for the sake of productivity I suggest before.

Inspiration includes but is not limited to: books you’ve never read before, books you’ve read ninety-three times, books by your friends, online books, comics/webcomics, really well-done TV shows, really poorly-done TV shows that you love anyway, films, Wikipedia articles on something you’re researching, Wikipedia articles that have nothing to do with what you’re writing but could possibly come in handy someday, eating good food, discussing writing with others, complaining about writing to others and daydreaming while your novel’s theme song plays in the background.

Side effects include over-investing oneself in another fictional world, crying, babbling to family members and wistful sighing.

Wear your writing clothes

My writing wardrobe varies depending on my context—like my ability to super-ignore, I can write in most settings wearing any outfit—but for the moment, we shall assume I do all my writing at home. Never underestimate the importance of being comfortable when you want a serious writing session. Many-an-idea has come to me more easily thanks to my selection outrageously bright socks or soft wraps. Pajama pants and baggy sweaters also do the trick for me as long as I have pockets to stash my phone in when I take a stretch break.

Speaking of which…

Stretch breaks

Take them, even if you don’t think you need to. I will not tell you how or when to schedule them, since a good focus streak is hard to come by, but if you find yourself thinking “I should probably take a stretch break,” then you should. It will help clear your head, and also prevent your brain from melting if you’re using a computer.

Well, it might not prevent it so much as delay it. But the point is moot.

Science has proven how helpful stretch breaks can be no matter what you’re doing, as it serves to recalibrate your energy and motivation. While you write, take advantage of scene skips or chapter breaks to take a breather. As a result, you’ll be able to write for longer than you could without breaks. Or, at the very least, you’ll be slightly less cranky when the writing day is done.

These are but a few factors in my non-linear equation for experiencing a good writing session. Other stimuli may affect it, of course, like the amount of time since my last meal, how many cats are present and whether or not my best friend is sending me weird screenshots. No particular order will always give you the perfect writing session, but remember it’s perfectly possible to write without tea, or if one is not in the “bubble.” The important part is to write.

Cover Image Credit: Stocksnap.io

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.


So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?



Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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