How Writing Can Be Like Great Sex: 17 Hot Tips

Guest post by Barrie Davenport of Live Bold and Bloom

Perhaps the title seems a bit gratuitous, but there is definitely truth to it. As a writer, you have likely experienced various levels of intensity and pleasure in the process of working on your craft. There’s writing when you are just slopping words on paper. And there’s writing that is slow and laborious and painfully tedious.

But then there’s WRITING — head-spinning, mind-blowing writing.

The words flow from some supernatural place, and it feels like there is nothing between your mind and your fingers typing away at the keys. It is a totally delicious experience, and often it comes out of nowhere, as a completely unexpected — well, brain climax.

Some people call this inspiration or being in the flow. And like the aforementioned other activity, the rest of the world just disappears. When I feel it coming on, I just have to do something about it — right now. And I want to get the very most out of the experience.

There’s no point finishing dinner or the television program I’m watching, or continuing whatever I’m doing. I have to get to that computer and turn it on. In those inspired moments, the writing is so easy and natural, and it is completely absorbing. Like a lovely out-of-body experience.

Unfortunately, this state of writing bliss cannot be sustained for long.

Don’t you wish you could bottle whatever it is that stimulates the mind to open so beautifully and spontaneously? A mental door has been flung wide, and amazing ideas and words come spilling out, just begging to be arranged into a story or poem or article.

Neurons are ablaze, firing left and right. You can write and write, pouring forth words in great gushes, only to finish feeling completely spent. My, oh my.

“One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper patterns at the right moment.” ~Hart Crane

And just as spontaneously, that door will slam shut again, and your brain snaps closed like a mental chastity belt. Every sentence is a struggle. Ideas and words evade you like a coy mistress.

Have you ever spent hours with your fingers poised on your keypad, staring at the screen like it might tell you what to write? It is so frustrating. You might as well be under water or in a slow-motion movie. Where did all of those darling words and ideas run off to?

Sadly, if writers waited on the mistress of inspiration in order to write, we would produce work very sporadically.

And eat lots of beans and rice. We have to write whether we are in the mood or not. If you write for your career, then writing must be a daily act of self- discipline , even when it’s lackluster and boring.

Is it possible to put yourself in the mood for inspiration? Can you put on a slinky mental nightgown or pop a cerebral Viagra to prepare yourself to be in the flow? Yes, there are things you can do, and you don’t have to order them from the back of a magazine or get a prescription!

“The great advantage of being in a rut is that when one is in a rut, one knows exactly where one is.” — Arnold Bennett

If you have to produce something today, and your creativity has rebuffed you, here are some ideas to get the mental juices flowing:

  1. Set the stage. You know where you like to write. Clear all of the mess off the desk or table. Put it out of your sight. Be sure you aren’t hungry or thirsty, in pain, or otherwise distracted. If you can write to music, play music that sets the mood for your topic.
  2. Walk outside for a few minutes. Get a change of scenery and some fresh air to distract you from your mental sluggishness.
  3. Re-frame your thinking. When you aren’t in the mood to write, you begin to think you are a bad writer. Don’t focus on the end product or your lack of inspiration. Just have fun in the process. Write without constraints and clean up the messy parts later.
  4. Relax and detach for a few minutes. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and try to empty your mind. Meditate for ten or fifteen minutes if you have the time.
  5. Send your subconscious a message. While your eyes are closed, ask for inspiration. Invite the ideas to come forth and the words to flow.
  6. Visualize your reader. Think about the people who will be reading your words. What can you say that will inform, uplift, inspire, confound, or humor them? If inspiration doesn’t produce the words, use your intellect and refine later.
  7. Do a warm-up. Get your fingers and mind ready for writing by writing mindlessly. Answer some emails. Revise a previous article. Type favorite quotes or paragraphs from other writers. Ease your brain and muscles into readiness.
  8. Think poetically. Even if you aren’t writing a poem, think in the language and nuance of a poet. Make your words juicy and provocative.
  9. Do some reading or research. If you know the topic you are writing about, read from some books you have about the topic or search the Internet to get your mind wrapped around the topic and to get ideas pumping. Look for inspiration in the words of others.
  10. Take a lot of notes. As you are reading, write down everything that might be interesting or potentially pertinent to your topic. As you write enough notes, ideas will amazingly start to formulate into elements of your story or article.
  11. Create a list of interesting words. Find melodious and beautiful words to have handy at your desk while you are writing.
  12. Phone a friend. Call someone with some sense and creativity and talk through your topic and ideas with them. Ask for feedback. Draw from their energy and enthusiasm.
  13. Write an outline or bullet points. Begin putting something on paper. If you have enough material in your head, write a full outline. If not, write bullet points of concepts or ideas that you might want to expand upon.
  14. Set a time limit. Force yourself to write for 20 to 30 minutes without a break. Your writing might stink, but at least get the words flowing and some ideas formulated. Be disciplined even if you feel discouraged. Just keep working.
  15. Take short breaks. Get up and eat something. Walk outside again. Run in place. Listen to music. Do some activities to recalibrate your brain and provide some energy. You’ll come back refreshed and ready for more.
  16. Break your writing into chunks. If you know how long your piece has to be, break down the number of pages and how many pages you will write in an hour or an afternoon. Focus on the writing that doesn’t require a lot of brain power and work on that during your time frame.
  17. Make love to your words. Metaphorically of course. View your writing as your beloved. Treat each word and sentence tenderly, and caress the most beauty and meaning from every one. When you aren’t in the mood, give instead of take. View your writing as an act of love and a gift you are offering. Then you humanize the entire experience.

When inspiration walks through the door wearing its red, sexy dress and inviting you for a romp, jump on it as fast as you can. Enjoy the wild ride and create something spectacular!

But when she leaves you high and dry, don’t cry in your beer or view yourself as a rejected suitor. You can always return to that boy or girl next door, the one who has been true to you all along — the writer who sits down every day and just does the work of writing.

If you’d like to read more about how the spoken word can impact your writing and your life, read this article.

Barrie Davenport is a life and career coach and the founder of Live Bold and Bloom, a blog about bold and fearless personal growth. She is a member of the A-List Blogger Club.
….
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Secret tip: get yourself on the waiting list for the A-List Blogger Club, the amazing ongoing training environment for bloggers that Leo Babauta and Mary Jaksch have created.

The A-List Blogger Club has changed my life. A month ago I didn’t know a tweet from a widget. Now I’m running my own blog and the club is right there with me. Everyday I connect with someone new, and not just connect, but get to know them, laugh with them, befriend, share, support and exchange ideas. Mary and Leo have created a community that is a reflection of who they are — generous, genuine and successful!
~ Katie Tallo of Momentum Gathering

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38 thoughts on “How Writing Can Be Like Great Sex: 17 Hot Tips”

  • Liz says:

    One other tip to get creativity flowing- Take a shower! Always works for me. Generates new and unexpected ideas.

    • Liz,
      You are so right. Just don’t make it a cold shower! The only problem is you can write down your ideas in the shower. Keep a little waterproof notebook in the bathroom for those moments of inspiration.

      Thanks for commenting Liz.

      Barrie

  • I love doing timed focused-writing bursts followed by a short break. I’m getting better at appreciating my “everyday” writer, but man I love it when I have a mind-blowing writing episode. One thing I notice though is that though the process and results are thrilling, I’m usually drained for hours after.

    • Hi Jean,

      Yes, when you expend all of that mental energy, it does drain you. But it’s worth it, don’t you think? My post here was just that kind of mental burst. I just sat down and typed it. Poof. Other times I will sit and piddle at the computer for hours.

      I love seeing your bright face in the comment section Jean.

      Take care,
      Barrie

  • Barrie, you captured the essence of the best writing times. Who could give that up?

  • Alex says:

    Thanks for this helpful article. To share with everyone, I’ve just learned a fantastic method for creating contents from Yaro Starak which is known as the The Brain Dump Method :

    Step 1: Come up with the general title or topic of your article…

    Step 2: Do all the necessary research you’ll need to get a thorough understanding of your topic.

    Step 3: Turn your computer screen off…

    Step 4: Start typing with the intention of creating an article focused on your selected title or topic, and just type anything that comes into your head…just anything..

    For example, if the thought coming into your head is: “I don’t know what to write…” – type that out!

    Just type.

    Don’t worry about spelling or grammar mistakes or anything else, just focus on typing whatever comes into your head (of course with the intention of creating a new article!).

    Very quickly, you’ll find that one idea will lead to the next, and your brain will simply start getting on a roll, and your fingers wont be able
    to type fast enough.

    Before you know it, you’ll end up with a number of pages of content in a matter of minutes!

    According to Yaro, this method works so well, is because when you turn your computer screen off, you can’t actually see what you’re typing, and this prevents the editing part of your brain from wanting to make changes and modifications all the time as you go.

    If your screen is off, you brain simply gives you all the content you need, without having to start and stop all the time for editing, and as a
    result, your final article will flow much better, and your ideas will merge really well to create a very easy to read article.

    After you’ve done your brain dump, you can turn your screen back on, and then edit whatever you’ve written.

    Sometimes it’s much easier to edit something you’ve already written, than coming up with totally new information from scratch.

    Of course you can just do this on paper as well since being able to type well is a key requirement for this method.

    • Alex,

      That’s a fantastic idea. You are preventing one part of your brain from interfering with another. It’s amazing how the mind works, storing stuff for us and dumping it out when we need it. Thank you for taking the time to share that great info with everyone!

      Best,
      Barrie

  • I loved this article Barrie! What a headline too. I think the biggest takeaway here and one that I have learned over the years of writing for ReadingForYourSuccess is that as soon as an idea or topic or headline comes to me that inspires me to write, then drop everything and write! When that feeling comes totally unexpected, then take full advantage. I used to just keep a list of all the headlines and topics that came to mind but then I found that going back to them weeks or months later, I had little detail to add.

    You are so right. When inspiration strikes, strike back and start writing! …Or start making love as you’d put it ;)

    Very well said.

    Scott

    • So glad the headline caught your attention (which was my intention!).I agree, he who hesitates is lost. You have to write down headlines and any other ideas that pop in your head. Otherwise, you may just have an empty headline. I enjoyed all of your comments at the Bootcamp. Nice to see your smiling face!

      Warmly,
      Barrie

  • Those are all great tips, and I like Liz’s idea of a shower, too. Somewhere in my pile of posts to write is an idea for one about all the benefits of a nice morning shower, and I don’t think getting clean is on the list.

    There’s a lot of fun potential in a blank page. Looking at a blank screen doesn’t intimidate or scare me, it gets me in the mood for my job.

    Thanks, Barrie. I’ll be sure to follow your blog.

    • Hi Gip,

      Please do write about the benefits of a morning shower. I always feel guilty about lingering so long, but I’d love to have some valid excuses! Thank you for your nice comment. I’m going to check out your blog too.

      Barrie

  • Chocolate. There has to be chocolate in there somewhere. Probably best in #15.

    Great list!

    Though, hope when my inspiration comes through the door, he’s not wearing a red dress. :)

    • Hi Marisa,

      Chocolate definitely can have the same affect. There are those dependable Hersey’s Kisses and then there’s Godiva.

      Yea, I guess a red dress isn’t the best inspiration for women, but it just wasn’t as lyrical to say “jeans and a t-shirt”!

      Thanks for your funny comment.
      Barrie

  • Manal says:

    Barrie,

    My oh my … what a brilliant post!

    The how to tips are very useful. But what I really loved is the way you played with words. I absolutely love the title and all the metaphorical references. They demonstrate your ability to write so fluidly.

    Barrie you are truly a master of making content useful, sexy and playful.

    Off to retweet!

    • Manal,

      You are so kind — that’s makes my day. I can’t wait for your post to run on my blog. I will let the Bootcamp know when it happens.

      Thanks for the retweet!

      Barrie

  • Great post Barrie. The headline got my attention – I like my Truth served with a side of Fun!

    Only thing I would add to your fabulous list is Mind Mapping. Some of us think in circles instead of lines. ;-)

    • That’s a great suggestion Linda. Have you done a post on Mind Mapping on your blog? If so, I hope you’ll comment again and link to it. There are plenty of circular thinkers who’d love to read about it.

      Thanks for your kind comments.

      Barrie

  • laurie says:

    and don’t forget the afterglow! :-)

  • Hi Barrie,

    I had to smile at your first suggestion: Set the Stage, clean your desk. When I’m all hot and bothered and ready to pounce the keyboard, who cares what the desk looks like? I could be in a cave for all I notice my environment.

    Okay, I could not help myself. I do know what you mean. If you’re not in the mood, stage setting helps, A few candles, a glass of wine, sexy music, it all helps with the writing…

    Kudos for the great article. See you in cyberspace.

    Karen (aka Miss Footloose)

    • Karen,

      Setting the stage is only when you AREN’T hot and bothered! I was offering tips when you are not in the mood. You are right about inspiration. You just want to pounce on the keyboard — clutter be damned! You made me smile too!

      Thanks Miss Footloose.

      Barrie

  • Angie says:

    Great article! I’m definitely going to print these tips up and slip them into my writing notebook for those days when the words just don’t flow.

    Thanks!

  • Aileen says:

    Such a great article Barrie! It really helps me see how normal it is to have both, fits of inspiration and at other times, nothing. I love your list of suggestions to get the creativity moving #’s 2,4,5,6,8,9,10,16 are my favorites. The walk outside #2 very powerful for me.

    The comment section here is great too – I noticed the chocolate inspiration hmmm… :)

    This is a great article for me to keep handy – and look at again when I feel like nothing is flowing.

  • Thanks Aileen! I think it is very normal to have both. In fact, I think lack of inspiration is more the norm. The comments have been very entertaining. Nothing like a little innuendo to get a rise out of people (pun intended!).

    Barrie

  • Mike Low says:

    The most helpful thing I’ve ever done for my writing – the thing that liberated my muse – was to stop all thoughts of doubt concerning my ability to get writing projects done. A mind that is unaware of writers block or a lack of creativity (and I hesitate to write those words even now) can’t suffer from it.

    • Brilliant Mike! You are precisely right. Just go with the flow and don’t allow your mind to focus on those two nasty words! Thank you for the reminder.

      Best,
      Barrie

  • God yes it’s like sex. I imagine it’s going to be mindblowing but it’s pretty average really!

    But that’s sex isn’t it? And writing? You set the scene, ramp up your imagination, create the right atmosphere to get the most from it, share part of yourself, open yourself up to recieve and enjoy the buzz, that feeling when it’s over.

    Trouble is I blog 4 times a week for an hour at a time, so that’s where the comparison stops lol!

  • John,

    Maybe your frequent blogging is part of the problem. You need to get out more! Thanks for you funny comment. Here’s to great writing and great sex!

    Barrie

  • Maria says:

    Dancing to Stephen Marley´s Traffic Jam gets me started. Whenever I´m stuck, the music sets me on fire again.

  • Rebecca says:

    Check out the book and website by Janet Conner
    writingdownyoursoul.com

    She writes about exactly what you’re describing.

  • Excellent but daring tips, and I must dare to try it out :-)

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