Who hasn’t wanted writing to be easier?
Sure, it would be great if you could sit down each week and just write from your heart.
While also sticking to your deadlines.
But how the heck can you do both at once — write in a way that FEELS good and easy, but that’s also strategic and that helps you hit your goals?
Find Your Natural Writing Process
Think about water flowing. It naturally finds the easiest path to take.
Making your writing easier is about finding YOUR natural path.
The path of least resistance.
Water’s got a lot of help to find its best path. Hello, gravity!
Let’s give you some help to find the writing process that is most natural for you. The one that will allow your creativity to flow, unhindered, toward your writing goal.
Today I’m sharing four magic questions you can use to hone your writing process so you can sit down and write from your heart — and also stick to your deadlines.
These are the questions I use with my writing coaching clients to help them build their process from the ground up — even if they have no clue what works for them and what doesn’t when they start working with me. They’re also the ones I’ve been using myself for years.
When you begin using these 4 questions at the end of each week, you’ll multiply your impact.
? You’ll ditch writing habits that are slowing you down.
? You’ll develop habits that make writing work for you.
? You’ll write content that connects with your readers.
? And you’ll write more in less time and with less effort.
Question #1: What were my wins?
Start with your wins so that you can see the bright spots. Focus on what you’re proud of. It might be how much you wrote. It might be the way a certain piece of content came out and was received. Or it might simply be that you didn’t give up. If you sat down at your laptop when your calendar told you it was blog o’clock, give yourself a pat on the back.
You can celebrate your effort, your mindset, your dedication, your output, or even bouncing back from a rocky start to the day or the week.
Starting with your wins helps you inhabit a growth mindset. Numerous scientific studies have shown that people with a growth mindset — in other words, people who believe that they can improve at a task — actually DO improve at it well above and beyond those with a fixed mindset. If you want to get better at writing, focus on the ways in which you are growing as a writer.
Question #2: What were my challenges?
Once you’ve shifted into a growth mindset, you can reflect on your challenges in a productive way. You already believe that you can improve, so now you can look at the areas where you want to make those improvements. The goal is to keep a curious and an open mind — don’t slide into blame or shame.
- What was frustrating?
- What blindsided you?
- Where did your process break down?
- What made you feel like giving up?
Your challenges are the crucial clues to the places where you need to tweak your writing process.
Maybe you were all excited to set aside an hour for writing at the end of your work day, but when you sat down to do it, you were completely exhausted and at a 0 on the creativity scale. That’s important data! Instead of continuing to repeat the same action that’s NOT working for you, you’ll start looking at making tweaks and changes. Which brings us to the next question.
Question #3: What’s working?
Now that you’ve seen you nailed some things and failed at others, you can take a long hard look at what made the difference.
- What made your writing work?
- Was it the time of day you wrote?
- The length of time you sat to write?
- What you did immediately beforehand?
- The type of content you created?
- Where you sat when you wrote?
- The music you listened to?
- The style of outline you used?
- Paper vs. laptop?
Note everything you think helped you get your words down. And bring your observations into the next step, where we’ll get more scientific.
Question #4: What would I like to try?
Time to act like a scientist and create some hypotheses. Look at your answers to Question 3 and brainstorm some more actions, habits, routines, writing topics, etc. that you think will help you write with greater efficiency — based on what you found that’s already working.
If you felt energized writing first thing in the morning, do you want to try doing that 3 days a week? If you got more done at your favorite coffee shop than in your home office, how about making a weekly date with yourself to go there and work on writing?
Then go back to your answers to Question 2. Analyze what didn’t work. See if you can sniff out what caused the breakdown in your plans. Why did things go awry? Please don’t bring any judgment to this analysis! Simply look for the common themes or clues that your challenges reveal. And then ask what you could do instead.
The goal in answering this question is to come up with new things to try that will help you continue to refine your process. You’re isolating the variables. You’re experimenting. Was it really that music that energized you? Or was it the great topic you wrote about?
Create a short list of things you want to try for the next week, try them, and repeat this process using your four questions.
Your writing. Your process. Your opportunity.
I highly recommend you set aside time at the end of each week to answer these questions. Don’t merely think about the answers. Write them down. Start a Google Doc or use a page in a notebook or journal. (My planner has a section for notes at the end of each week, and this is the perfect spot to jot down my answers so I can easily find them and also use them to plan the coming week.)
Reflecting on your writing process is THE EASIEST WAY to write in flow. So you can overcome your writing blocks and create compelling content on a consistent basis.
Because the big secret about writing is that we all do it differently.
No one can tell you your process. Yes, a good writing coach will suggest what to try so you’re not lost in the dark, finding things with your shins. But only you can decide whether those writing recipes and strategies work for you.
You now hold in your hot little hands the best tool to learn your preferences, figure out your weak spots, and reflect on your growth.
Go forth and use it! Start discovering your writing process so you can create powerful content that transforms the world.