What does it take for you to get in the mood to write?

Can you create an island oasis when you are writing?

Those are challenging questions for some of us. There are some writers that write on an oasis of solitude for hours each day, and others that grab fifteen minutes whenever they can and have children running around the entire time. But either way, it is important to find a place to get in the mood.

This week, I was inspired by a video tweeted by Jon Winokur (@AdviceToWriters). The video is by John Cleese, an English actor, comedian, writer, and film producer (of Monty Python fame). He shared very insightful thoughts about the creative process. He encourages us to “find our oasis – then you can play.” He says we must “create boundaries of space & time” to support the most vital parts of our creative process. I was particularly interested in his examples of how we connect with the unconscious forces, where much of our creative work is done. When we focus our intention on what we’re writing, there is work continuing in our subconscious (in the background of the mind) even when we leave our writing space and engage the world.

John Cleese on Creativity

Other writers have been discussing creative habits and unconscious forces at work in our creative lives this week. I greatly enjoyed the recent article by Alison Wells at Head Above Water, Finding your keys: Creativity. This article was a beautiful exploration about, “what triggers us emotionally, what untaps the inner resonance that makes our work more meaningful?”  And, Jody Clement Wall at Zebra Sounds wrote an insightful article about striking a balance between solitude and participation with others in Creative Habits.

The latest techniques I use to get into the creative mood are centering exercises (based on cognitive psych) by Eric Maisel. The exercises include becoming completely still, conscious breathing, noticing destructive/defeating thoughts and replacing them through affirmations. So far, the centering exercises have helped me feel more calm, grounded and cleared in my mind to begin writing when I am not in the mood. (More about this topic next week.)


Tex Beneke and the Glenn Miller Orchestra perform the jazz classic: “In The Mood” (1946)

What About You?

Do you have any tricks or techniques to help you get in the mood to write or create? Or are you frustrated because nothing has helped on the most difficult days? Share your experiences in the comments below and follow along on Twitter at #Writers_Life.