Your Mind Is a Superhero (A Lesson from the Writember Workshop)

Did you know you possess a superpower that can help you to make writing a habit? You do indeed, and today I’m giving you a sneak peek into the Writember Workshop so that you can find out what it is.

Let me ask you a question: what is a writer’s greatest asset?

To me, it’s imagination. The writer’s mind is a place of vivid imagery and rich landscapes and so you possess a distinct advantage over other would-be habit builders. Why? Because your ability to envision things in such vibrant detail lends itself to a process for forging a habit.

You have an amazing superpower. It’s called visualisation. You can see things in exquisite detail in your head—your characters, your worlds, your stories—and you can use the richness of your mind’s eye to reinforce your writing habit through mental practice.

What Is Mental Practice?

This involves running over a set of physical movements in your head, such as swinging a tennis racket or a golf club. You visualise yourself going through these actions in vivid sensory detail, step by step. What you see, hear, feel, smell, taste as you go through the process—envision all of it.

Mental practice doesn’t just work for physical actions though; it also applies to tasks that require more cognitive aspects, such as what you’re thinking and feeling.

Apply mental practice to writing and what do you get? Visualisation of your whole writing session.

Here’s what I want you to do. Sit down somewhere quiet and comfortable, close your eyes, clear your mind, and then… imagine writing. And not just the act of writing itself—envision the whole process, including what happens before, during and after you sit down to write.

Visualise what happens before writing

Where do you pass through on the way to your writing space? What happens as you sit down and open up any documents or materials you need? What do you see, hear, feel, smell, taste? What’s your attitude like? Your mood? Your thoughts? Immerse yourself in the whole process, as though you’re experiencing it right now.

Visualise what happens when writing

Now imagine the feel of your fingers tapping the keys, the click as they connect, the words appearing on the screen, the way you sit up straight and lean forward, engrossed in your work. Imagine your emotions, your thoughts, and your mindset, all focused on your project.

Visualise what happens after writing

How do you feel as you write or edit your last word for the day? What kind of thoughts run through your head? What actions do you take to wrap-up your writing session, like backing up your projects (very important—do this!), preparing materials for tomorrow’s session, or re-reading what you’ve been working on?

Feel every moment, focusing on the step-by-step process of writing each day, rather than the overall goal of making writing a habit.

Did you know your ability to envision things in vibrant detail can help you to make writing a habit? Here's how.

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Why Visualise?

There’s actually a fair bit of science behind this exercise. Research suggests that mentally practising an action can make you better at it when you actually carry it out (check out the ‘Further Reading’ section at the bottom of this post for a full list of references). It works with athletes who mentally rehearse their performance and it can work for you too.

Wait… there’s even more your superpower can do? You bet. It’s a superpower, after all.

Visualisation of the process of writing every day, rather than simply fantasising about the end result (i.e., writing being a habit), can help you in two respects: you can then plan out what you need to do to achieve your end result and you should feel less anxious about it, as you’re focusing on the steps you need to take.

By mentally practising your writing routine, you can familiarise yourself with each step, making it a much smoother process when you actually go to write, and streamline the process by identifying actions that aren’t necessary and cutting them from your routine. Great, right?

The Writember Workshop employs the same kind of approach as visualisation. It focuses on the simple act of writing every day (the process) rather than making writing a habit (the end goal). And now, after this lesson, you can break down the ‘process’ part even further into your personal, step-by-step routine for a writing session. Use this to guide your daily writing practice for all the days to come!

Want to find out more about the Writember Workshop and take the first step towards making writing a habit? Right here, my friend.