5 Random Places to Find Inspiration

by Kristina Ludwig
Jan 12
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: January 12, 2015 at 9:00 am

As writers, we have to be open to the weird and the wonderful, and inspiration often strikes in totally random places. Often, we don’t even need to search for inspiration; it finds us instead. With that in mind, here are 5 random places where you might find your next story idea!

Image courtesy of somethingoneverything.com

Image courtesy of somethingoneverything.com

  1. Vintage Stores - Writing historical fiction? Then head to your local vintage store before you slide into your desk chair. Browsing is so much fun because each item has its own unique story–and it’s up to you to find and tell it.
  2. Gyms - Your blood is pumping and the endorphins are flowing; these factors can launch your creativity into overdrive. Add to that the fact that your mind is mostly blank when you’re doing reps or running on the treadmill, and you have the ideal environment to dream up awesome new writing projects.
  3. Your Shower - Many times, you don’t even need to venture out of the bathroom for inspiration; just take a shower! Great ideas often hit when you’re sudsing up.
  4. Bed - The saying, “Sleep on it,” is so true; sleep really lends us a sense of clarity. If you’re stuck at a stubborn point in your story, “sleeping on it” is often all you need.
  5. Public Transportation - Not only do you have uninterrupted time on a bus, train, or airplane, you also have an abundance of people and conversations. Hello, people watching!

Writers out there, what is your favorite random place to find inspiration? Is there a special location that always works for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories.

5 Easy Ways to Regain Your Momentum This Year

by Kristina Ludwig
Jan 5
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: January 5, 2015 at 9:00 am

I always enjoy some time off around the holidays, and although I’ve written a bit here and there over the past two weeks, today is my first official day back to writing full-time!

No matter what you do, returning to work after a long break can seem daunting to say the least. Luckily, I’ve got you covered! Instead of dreading your return to work, try these 5 easy ways to regain your momentum after the New Year. I applied them last year after the holidays, and they worked incredibly well. I’m psyched to implement them again.

New Year's was fun, but now it's time to get serious. Check out these 5 tips to find out how!

New Year’s was fun, but now it’s time to get serious. Check out these 5 tips to find out how!

  1. Start the week by doing something you love! I kicked off the week with an impromptu yoga class yesterday morning. Yoga is one of my favorite workouts because it exercises not only our bodies but our minds and souls as well. I always feel more focused and motivated after I practice yoga. This session, however, the true revelation came at the end of class. After everyone left the exercise room, I still had so many endorphins circulating through my system that I didn’t want to leave. So, I took advantage of the fact that there were no back-to-back classes that day; with the room to myself, I began dancing and doing splits, cartwheels, and front handsprings. I felt wild, free, and completely in touch with my innermost essence. Gymnastics and dancing were two things I loved as a child and a teen, and practicing them again felt divine. As I walked home in the sunshine, I was pumped for everything  in life, including returning to work.
  2. Create a mantra. I always create a weekly mantra, but I believe that it’s especially important to do so before returning to work after a long break. My mantra came to me at the end of yoga practice, and it is Discipline, Drive, and Determination. Over the holidays, I relaxed and cut loose, but now it’s time to return to the core of what makes us all successful: the 3 D’s. I repeated my mantra to myself before I sat down at the computer today, and I was raring to go!
  3. Read voraciously. This is my only tip that applies exclusively to writers, especially those of you who are working on fiction projects. Reading is the perfect way to regain your momentum; reading a book in your genre will inspire you and impart a feeling of accomplishment. After all, you’re not just reading for pleasure–you’re conducting market research! And if you’re working on a manuscript that requires research, dusting off those non-fiction books and reading up on your topic will give you ideas and help you to feel more in touch with your story. For example, I’m working on a mermaid novel set in 1920s San Francisco, so I dug up some new resources on the 1920s in general and prohibition in San Fran in particular to put me in the mindset of the story.
  4. Write a list of goals. I think most of us do this in some way or another, and call them New Year’s resolutions. However, even if New Year’s resolutions aren’t your thing, don’t fret. Write goals for your workweek–and your year–instead. This is an excellent habit to get into, and it will help you to start, and finish, your week strong.
  5. Take care of your body. Many of us gorge during the holiday season. After all, we won’t see some of these foods again for a whole year! But remember, sugar is a toxin, and the starchy, salt-laden foods of the holidays kill your energy. Returning to your regular healthy diet is paramount in regaining your momentum at work, because if you feel sluggish and bloated, how are you going to perform to your full potential? Additionally, many of us neglect our exercise regimens during the holidays. Working out again will get your blood flowing and your endorphins pumping, and will fill your entire body with an amazing sense of well-being. The sooner you can return to your healthy habits and take care of your body, the better it will be for your momentum at work!

So, there you have it: 5 easy ways to regain your momentum this year. Have you tried these? Do you have anything to add? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

5 Tips to Switching Genres Seamlessly

by Kristina Ludwig
Sep 22
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: September 22, 2014 at 10:59 am

As much as I’ve loved writing my Amish books, I’ve decided to take a hiatus from the YA Amish Romance genre, mostly because my imagination called me in another direction. I’ve always been intrigued by mermaids, and even dressed up as one last Halloween! During a trip up the coast of California a few months ago, I admired the deep blue waters and the jagged rocks of Monterey, and thought, “Wow, this place looks like there should be mermaids.” Add in the appeal of Monterey’s history as a vacation and fishing town starting in the 1880s, and I had all the inspiration I needed to create a series about generations of mermaids with a peculiar curse, starting in Victorian times!

Me as a mermaid, partying with friends dressed as other mythical creatures, last Halloween.

Me as a mermaid, partying with friends dressed as other mythical creatures, last Halloween.

One reason that many authors find themselves pigeon-holed into one genre (besides sales and fan base, of course) is because it’s difficult to transition from one genre to another. I’ve taken several steps to prepare myself to write YA Mermaid fiction–mindset really is everything. And guess what? I’m already eight chapters into my new mermaid book!

Here are 5 tips to switching genre.

  1. Read at least 20 books in the new genre - Market research not only helps you to generate ideas, it’s essential in order to create a book that fits into the overall market, yet still has enough individuality to stand out. During your market research, pay close attention to the length of the books, the pricing, the covers, and the descriptions. Finally, checking out the reviews will show you what your new target audience likes and dislikes.
  2. Watch TV shows and movies about your new genre - This can be anything from documentaries to movies to TV series. I happened to stumble upon a Netflix original series called Mako Mermaids, geared toward tweens, and Antonio and I started watching it. Although it appeals to a younger audience, watching the series has spurred my creativity and exposed me to mermaid myths. It’s so important to really saturate yourself in your new genre, during your work and play hours! Which leads me to my next tip…
  3. Quest for inspiration constantly - Do activities that bring you closer to your characters. For example, take “educational field trips,” like I did when I was writing my Amish series. Lately, I have been doing mermaid-like activities–not difficult for me, because I tend to do these things anyway. For example, I’ll take a break from writing to swim in the  pool–great exercise, and I’m often inspired during this time. I also go to the beach with Antonio at least twice a week, usually around sunset, and some of my greatest ideas come to me there. And inspiration can strike when you least expect it. This weekend, after lunch in Old Town, I saw a store called Mermaid’s Cove, which is full of mermaid memorabilia, books, and other curiosities.
  4. Do your research - Check out non-fiction sources on your new topic. I’ve learned a lot about mermaid mythology just by Googling the subject–isn’t the information age great?! However, I’ve also read some books about mermaid legends and lore, such as “Among the Mermaids: Facts, Myths, and Enchantments from the Sirens of the Sea” by Varla Ventura.
  5. Follow blogs - These are one of the most often overlooked resources when writing in a new genre. While writing Amish fiction, I followed various blogs written by ex-Amish, and lately, I’ve begun following blogs by fans of mermaids. Not only are blogs an awesome place to find facts, opinions, and discussions about your subject, they also bring you closer to your target audience!
A golden-hour beach picture  from yesterday. Getting inspired for a new series has never been so much fun.;)

A golden-hour beach picture from yesterday. Getting inspired for a new series has never been so much fun.;)

Authors out there, do you write in more than one genre? If so, what tips do you have for a smooth transition? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Productive Writing: 5 Tips to Write 1 Novella per Month

by Kristina Ludwig
Sep 15
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: September 15, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Woohoo! Last Friday, I finished writing my last Amish ebook (for a while, anyway), Amish Awakening (The Finale): Rebekah and Braeden’s Book. With a word count hovering around 23,000, this novella is approaching novel territory, in keeping with my trend toward longer ebooks as I’ve advanced through my three Amish series. The Amish Hearts books were short novellas (60-70 pages on Amazon) as I introduced the twins at the beginning of their Rumspringa. In the Amish in College series, the twins and their friends Hannah and Samuel explored deeper growing-up issues, and the length of the novellas grew accordingly–up to 80-90 pages on Amazon. And finally, the books of the Amish Couples series range from 102-121 pages on Amazon.

The funny thing is, I’ve stuck to my one book a month release quota for an entire year, but the books have grown in length. Much of this might be due to practice and increased efficiency as I’ve transitioned from my life of pharmacist to full-time writer, and I’m excited to share my experiences with you!

books

Here are 5 foolproof tips to writing 1 novella per month, brought to you by someone who knows ;)

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice - The best way to increase your efficiency as a writer is by practicing every day. As we become acclimated to the routine of writing regularly, the words just seem to flow more easily.
  2. Have a Standing Appointment With Your Editor -As soon as I submit my manuscript to my editor, I schedule the date to submit my next one–in exactly one month. This deadline keeps me on track and creates a sense of accountability. Regardless of how busy my month is with travel and other engagements, I’ve never missed a deadline, and sometimes I even finish early. The key is piecing the writing into your month as a whole, and if you must skip a few of your normal work days, you must create the time to make them up later.
  3. Know Your Best Writing Time - Are you a morning, afternoon, evening, or late-night writer? This is one of the most important questions to ask yourself, because your writing “golden hour” (or hours) will be the time at which you’re most productive and inspired. I happen to write best in the mid to late morning and early afternoon, and this is the time when I write the bulk of my novellas.
  4. Set Up Daily and Weekly Writing Quotas - I find it helpful to target a number of chapters that I would like to complete per day and per week. My minimum quota is 10 chapters per week, but when I’m feeling really creative or in the zone, I’ll sometimes write 4 or 5 chapters per day. Bonus!
  5. Take Break Days - Mental health breaks are crucial to stay productive on your on-days and to find inspiration. Make sure you fit them in!

Writers out there, what tips help you to be more productive? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

5 Tips to Write Awesome Romantic Conflict Scenes

by Kristina Ludwig
Aug 7
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: August 7, 2014 at 10:59 am

Conflict is the essence of fiction–it drives stories forward and keeps readers turning the pages and coming back for more. When I took an advanced level writing course a few years ago, I was told to really torture my characters by using internal and external conflict; to this day, I torture my characters as much as possible, infusing my books with tension and drama. Of course, conflict is a balance like anything else, and no author wants his or her book to read like one big brawl…but some artfully-placed conflict interspersed with moments of calmness is a good thing.

Romantic conflict is my favorite kind to write. When passions are high, discussions become heated. Romantic conflict is especially fun in YA fiction, since the emotions and thoughts of teens are so amplified and volatile anyway. I usually write romantic conflict from the point of view of one character, but in my new series, “Amish Couples,” I’ve been showing both sides of the argument as I alternate chapters between the male and female point of view. This has been an amazing exercise, and I’d highly recommend it if you haven’t tried it yet!

Romantic conflict is so much fun to write! Image courtesy of changeagentcareers.com

Romantic conflict is so much fun to write! Image courtesy of changeagentcareers.com

Here are some tips to write scintillating romantic conflict. I hope they help you next time you need to write an awesome scene!

  1. Know the stakes - In order to create believable romantic conflict, you must be aware of what’s at stake for each character. Why is this conflict so important to each character, and what does he or she have to lose that makes the cause worth fighting for?
  2. Understand what motivates each character - Character motivation goes hand-in-hand with knowing the stakes. In order to write a believable argument scene, you need to know the driving force behind a character’s (strongly held) opinion. Is the character motivated by ambition, pride, love, fear, or money? Ask yourself these questions about each character involved in the dispute, and the scene will flow smoothly and believably.
  3. Use dialogue - Dialogue is the perfect literary device to convey romantic conflict, since there’s just so much you can do with it. For example, if a character is agitated, increase the tempo of his or her speech. Dialogue is also a great way to convey each character’s personality quirks. Does a character morph back into the accent of his / her homeland when angry? Does a character stutter and stammer? Or does a character seem to turn to ice, shutting down his / her emotions and using cool or even sarcastic retorts? Infuse these elements into your dialogue, and you’ll have a sizzling “fight scene” that seems to jump off the page.
  4. Body language says so much - Just like dialogue, body language and physical description can bring a romantic conflict scene to life. How does each character physically respond to the conflict? Strive to exceed the usual red face or crossed arms and go a step further. Oddly enough, I found myself inspired to incorporate more animated body language into my romantic conflict scenes after I read a pop-psychology book about analyzing people’s body language in the workplace and at networking events.
  5. Lighten it up with humor - One thing you don’t want is for your romantic conflict scene to morph into pure emo, becoming dark and even hateful. To prevent this, sprinkle in some humor. One of my favorite characters to include in fight scenes is Mercy, because she’s often so selfish that it’s funny. Create a character like that, and romantic conflict scenes will never get so heavy that they weigh down your book, dragging it into a pit of despair. Readers should always have hope that everything will pan out in the end. :)

Writers out there, how do you write awesome romantic conflict scenes? I’d love to hear your techniques and feedback!

Writing on Vacay: 5 Tips to Write on the Run

by Kristina Ludwig
Jun 2
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: June 2, 2014 at 9:00 am

It’s that time again…summer vacation season. As we writers jet-set across the globe (or maybe just road-trip to the next city over), inspiration often strikes. I don’t know about you, but as soon as I come up with a new idea for a book or blog post, I want to get it down right away before the Muse goes out to lunch.

But how do you write when you’ve already got a packed day of sight-seeing, visiting, and–oh yeah–some much-needed R & R? Here are 5 tips for writing on vacay. Follow them, and you’ll write inspired prose on the run. Plus, you won’t feel behind on your writing projects as soon as you’ve unpacked your suitcases. Win-win!

Next time you're flying, do some writing as well! Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Next time you’re flying, do some writing as well! Photo courtesy of Flickr.

  1. Use travel time wisely - If you’re flying, don’t waste the whole flight watching movies or sleeping. Get out your laptop and write a little! The same goes with road-trips; take turns driving, and when you’re not the one behind the wheel, do some journaling or write on your laptop.
  2. Carry an inspiration notebook - They’re little, they’re cute, and they can fit easily into your handbag. No I’m not talking about baby chihuahuas…I’m talking about inspiration notebooks! New story ideas often strike at odd times, and since our senses are so much more acute during travel, we’re likely to be more open-minded and creative than usual. Don’t forget those awesome ideas–write them down right away!
  3. Journal – Journaling about our reflections on the vacation, the places we’ve seen, and the people we meet is a great way to amp up creativity and keep in practice with our writing. You may not have time to journal every day of your vacation–and probably shouldn’t if you’re living it up. But journaling during your downtime just feels amazing!
  4. Talk to locals - This may not be a writing tip, but talking to new people on vacation is the perfect way to learn about new cultures and get ideas for characters in your books.
  5. Try something new. Then write about it. Use your inspiration notebook. Try to write about your new experience in a very descriptive, story-like way, and who knows–it might end up in your new book.

Writers out there, do you write on vacation? What are some of your best tips? I’d love to hear your opinions!

 

“Write” Your Wrongs: 5 Ways to Write Yourself Out of a Corner

by Kristina Ludwig
May 8
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: May 8, 2014 at 8:30 am

I’m nearly finished writing Book 3 in the Amish in College series, “Amish Scholar: Samuel’s Book.” This book follows Mercy’s boyfriend Samuel as he attends agriculture and business classes at a local university, in the hopes of finding a solution to save his family’s failing farm. The only problem: both Samuel’s father and Mercy think he should quit college because it’s taking too much time from the farm (his father) and from his free time (Mercy). Samuel struggles to not only find the solution to the farming dilemma, but to balance his love life, his studies, and his work on the farm.

The book was flowing along quite nicely until yesterday, when I wrote a little over half a chapter and then got stuck. Annoyingly enough, the more I tried to get un-stuck, the deeper I sank, as though I’d fallen into writers’ quicksand. Half an hour later, I put Samuel and friends away for the day, working on other projects instead.

Writers' quicksand can be hazardous. Here, I share some tips to get out! Image courtesy of horseandman.com

Writers’ quicksand can be hazardous. Here, I share some tips to get out! Image courtesy of horseandman.com

When I reflected on this later, I realized that my unusual case of writers’ block had occurred because I’d written myself into a corner the previous day. There was literally nowhere to go, so I was stuck on Chapter 26. Ugh.

Luckily, all I needed was some time away from Samuel, a good night’s sleep, and a little distraction, and I was able to write 4 full chapters today, back to back. Woohoo! Based on personal experience here are 5 ways to write yourself out of a corner.

  1. Distance Yourself - It’s great to be close to your characters, but don’t forget what happens when you’re too close–you get smothered! Once I gave myself a little time away from Samuel, I was able to write myself out of the corner and create a few new twists and turns along the way.
  2. Meditate - Sometimes, we write ourselves into corners simply because we haven’t thought enough about what happens next. In moments like these, it pays to turn off the computer and look out the window, or close our eyes and just think. And remember, meditation can happen anywhere–and it frequently occurs in unexpected places, like the shower.
  3. De-clutter - Your book, that is. I had to delete some scenes to keep things more open-ended and effectively set up the next few scenes. Even though no one likes to delete his or her hard work, responsible story decluttering can be the best way to move a story forward. To me, it feels like knocking down a wall in an old house to create an airy, open floor plan, full of possibilities.
  4. Outline - As an organic writer, I usually only outline once per book, right before I begin writing Chapter 1; even that outline is more like a rough synopsis. However, if I’m stuck, I turn to outlines to get my ideas flowing and organized. Remember, you can always deviate from your outline, but at least you’ll be out of the corner.
  5. Sleep on it - Sometimes, all you need to solve a plot problem is a good night’s sleep. Many times, I’ve only been able to write myself out of a corner after a nice long rest and a cup of morning coffee. A fresh start works wonders.

Writers, do you ever write yourself into corners? What’s your best tip to get un-stuck? I’d love to hear your experiences!

 

The Challenging World of Writing About Characters of the Opposite Sex

by Kristina Ludwig
Apr 17
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: April 17, 2014 at 11:11 am

I’ve just completed final edits of my eleventh eBook, Amish Wedding: Hannah’s Book, which will be released soon! Writing about an Amish wedding was a dream come true for me. I got married last September, and my wedding was so much fun to plan, and the happiest day of my life. For that reason, I had an easy time channeling Amish bride-to-be Hannah, even though her wedding planning process was much more dramatic than mine. :)

I guess I’m just hopelessly romantic, because I loooove all weddings, and am intrigued by various cultural wedding customs. Amish weddings are so different from those of us Englischers–they’re much more simple, as befits the plain, pure Amish lifestyle. There are no white dresses, bouquets, caterers, or splashy full-bar receptions. But there is an atmosphere of love, family, and community. The bride’s parents’ house is full of food, homemade decorations (especially centerpieces made of celery stalks), and happiness. I was sucked into my research on Amish weddings, and this made it very easy to channel Hannah.

Now, however, I’ve just started a much more difficult project–I’m writing Amish Scholar: Samuel’s Book, which will be Book 3 of the Amish in College series. Samuel loves his family’s farm more than anything. He receives a scholarship to study agriculture and business at a local university, and plans to bring these skills home to the farm that has been in his family for generations. The only problem: farming is not as popular in the Amish communities as it once was. Up until the 1960s, most Amish were farmers. Today, however, only 10% of Amish are farmers.

Add in the drama of college classes, an English girl who’s totally into him, and Mercy’s pressure to start thinking about their own wedding, and you’ve got one stressed-out Amish scholar! I’m still developing the plotline, and I love to think up new twists and turns as I go, so I think Samuel’s Book should be pretty interesting.

Channeling an Amish farmer is not easy, but it's necessary for Samuel's character to come to life! Image courtesy of http://pabook.libraries.psu.edu/

Channeling an Amish farmer is not easy, but it’s necessary for Samuel’s character to come to life! Image courtesy of http://pabook.libraries.psu.edu/

But how to channel Samuel, a nineteen year-old Amish guy? Channeling Amish is not super-easy to begin with–when I first started writing the Amish Hearts series, my editor told me that many of the words and phrases I used were too English, poetic, and “literate” to be used by the Amish, who speak much more simply than the average college-educated Englischer. Since the books are told in the first person, plainer language is a must. But all the other books of Amish Hearts and Amish in College were told from the female perspective. In fact, I’ve only ever written from the female perspective. How do I write like a guy?

I realized that, in order to do this, I’d have to think like a guy, specifically Samuel. I know Samuel very well from the other six books in which he appears, at least in some small capacity. Before I even began writing Chapter One, I reviewed everything I knew about Samuel and filled in any character gaps that I hadn’t yet created. What are his hopes and dreams? What does he love more than anything in the world, and what is his greatest fear? By knowing Samuel inside and out–and creating more dimension to his character inside my mind–I was able to pinpoint not only a skeleton of the storyline, but some conflicts I will throw Samuel’s way, and how he’ll react to them.

Samuel uses simple language as well, and is motivated by different factors than the girls in the stories. True, his love for Mercy drives him, but he is also motivated by duty to his family and appreciation of the age-old Amish tradition of farming. He’s also forward-thinking enough to know that, although he wants to maintain his family’s proud farming history, he must be well-versed enough in the current agricultural and business doctrines to make it viable in today’s world. Being clear on Samuel’s motivations has made it easier for me to get inside his head while writing.

Another great technique I’ve employed to channel Samuel is–surprise, surprise–reading. I’ve been checking out books written by men about male characters, and books written by females about both male and female characters. I’m observing different writing styles, and taking home some ideas of my own in the process.

The last thing that has helped me channel Samuel is researching particular elements of the storyline. Looking into the Amish farming industry, for example, has helped me to better understand male Amish farmers. Just as I saturated myself in Amish wedding research for my last book, I’m immersing myself in Amish farming info while I write this book, and I think it’s helping a lot.

Do you write stories from an opposite-sex point of view? If so, how did you channel your characters while writing? I’d love to hear what you think!

Writing Fitness: 4 Easy Ways to Flex Your Creative Muscles Today

by Kristina Ludwig
Apr 14
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: April 14, 2014 at 9:56 am

I am a huge advocate of physical fitness. I adore yoga, cardio, and targeted weight-lifting and toning exercises. I also love being outside and doing “active” activities like biking, swimming, and shooting hoops. And of course, I live to dance crazily, and have a penchant for randomly launching into gymnastics on the beach.

It’s a known fact that being physically fit not only allows your body to perform optimally, decreasing the risk of common health problems (hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and hypercholesterolemia being only a few), it also makes you feel better. There’s even a scientific basis behind it. (Hello, feel-good endorphins!)

Your body is not the only thing you need to keep fit, however. If you’re a writer questing after ever-evolving creativity and awesome story craft, you also need to keep your mind fit, and the only way you can do that is by exercising it.

Writing fitness is as important as physical fitness! Image courtesy of gimnasia

Writing fitness is as important as physical fitness! Image courtesy of gimnasia

With that in mind, I have compiled a handful of tips to enhance your writing fitness. Our writing muscles will atrophy if we don’t use them, after all!

  1. Warm up your writing muscles  – Just as we wouldn’t exercise without stretching first, we shouldn’t launch into a full-on writing session without warming up first. Warming up can take a variety of forms. It can involve working on your blog, or taking a time out for journaling. You can even write a short story using a story prompt. Once you warm up, you will find that the main event of your writing session (i.e. working on your novel, etc) will flow more easily and smoothly.
  2. Read a lot – Many times, I learn new exercises from reading the blogs of fitness experts. Then, I just can’t wait to try them out at the gym or even at home. You can apply the same concept to your writing. Learn new literary techniques from reading the works of great writers of the past and present. If there’s some part of the creative process that’s perplexing you, read a how-to book. Reading gives us fascinating new ideas, opening doors for our own creativity.
  3. Fight boredom - One of the worst enemies of an exercise routine is boredom. Not only does it decrease your motivation to work out, the benefit to your muscle groups actually diminishes if you get stuck in a rut. That’s why it’s so important to shake up your fitness routine and evolve constantly. The same concept applies to your writing. If you do the same routine in the same location day in, day out, your creativity will be drained over time. Instead, work from various locations and split your writing day up differently throughout the week, incorporating other activities (ex. reading, playing a musical instrument, working out) into your day. Keep yourself stimulated, and the new ideas will flow.
  4. Keep it colorful - How psyched are you to go to the gym when you have a brand-new, brightly colored workout ensemble? I don’t know about you, but in my case, the answer is very. Psych yourself out to write by keeping it colorful! I’m not telling you to paint your office in neon colors (although hey, whatever works), but I am saying you should make your writing life figuratively colorful, if not literally. This means embracing new experiences, different cultures, and unusual locales. Even new writing equipment (i.e journal, pens, or computer) can make you feel more colorful–and enable you to infuse color into your writing!

Writing With Your Body, Mind, and Soul: 5 Ways to Incorporate Yoga into Your Writing Life

by Kristina Ludwig
Mar 13
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: March 13, 2014 at 11:40 am

In the past six months, I’ve really gotten into yoga. I’ve always adored exercising, and in the past I enjoyed the occasional yoga class. However, I’d found regular yoga classes difficult to fit into my routine, so I’d usually work out alone at the gym at times that fit into my schedule.

Since I’ve begun to create my own work schedule, I’ve finally been able to give yoga the time and energy it deserves. I practice twice a week, and have realized that regular yoga sessions have enhanced my writing, as well as my attitude on life in general!

We write as complete people–the sum of our bodies, minds, and souls. Hate it or love it, the “write what you know” cliche holds some truth; our experiences and mindsets influence our writing. In order to write our best literature, we must know ourselves as complete people, and the breathing exercises, stretches, and moments of meditation in yoga all help us to reach inside ourselves as artists.

Yoga is also a great way to create focus, which is extremely important in writing, whether we do it professionally or as a hobby. We as writers must make every moment count, to increase our productivity, reach new fans, and make a living doing what we love.

Since I’ve gotten into yoga, I’ve found myself writing with my body, mind, and soul. Here’s how:

Body: Regular yoga practice is the perfect way to stay healthy as we write; many of the ailments affecting authors are related to sitting in the chair for long hours, being inactive, or having poor posture. The stretches and poses in yoga allow our muscles to function optimally, and the emphasis on straight spine and flexibility encourages us to sit straighter and more ergonomically in and out of class. Since I’ve started yoga, I’ve experienced no lower back pain, even when I’m sitting and writing for hours. The activity gets my creative juices flowing, and keeps my metabolism and energy level revved up all day. And I find that I sit straighter, creating less stress on my back and shoulders.

Mind: The focused nature of yoga, from awareness of each muscle to the emphasis on breathing, carries through to other parts of our day, including writing. Bringing that intense laser-focus we learn in yoga class to our writing sessions makes us much more productive and prolific.

Soul: Many of my yoga instructors begin class by asking us to create a mantra for our session, and encouraging meditation during and after practice. Mantras and meditation are wonderful techniques to achieve our goals in yoga class, and they can be equally helpful in our writing sessions.  We not only write with our minds, we write with our spirits.

Yoga is the perfect way to encourage writing with your body, mind, and soul.

Yoga is the perfect way to encourage writing with your body, mind, and soul.

Now that you know how to write with your body, mind, and soul, here are 5 specific ways to actually do it!

  1. Begin each writing session with a mantra–and defined goals.
  2. If your mind wanders during your writing session, do deep breathing techniques, such as counted breathing (inhaling and exhaling to the count of ten, for example). This technique works for anything from a stress headache to just having focus issues.
  3. Clear your mind. One of the cornerstones of yoga class is the decluttering of your mind–letting go of any stress or conflict that you may be feeling, and simply listening to your body. If you’re feeling distracted or mentally cluttered while writing, meditate to let go of these distractions. You will be much more inspired and focused if you do.
  4. Incorporate yoga into your writing routine. It’s different for everyone, but I personally find that I am more productive when I write in the morning, do yoga around noon or 1, and return to writing again in the afternoon. It’s a great way to break up my day, and I get more writing done both before and after yoga than I would otherwise. Other people may prefer yoga in the morning and focused writing afterwards, while still others might like evening yoga classes as a reward for a work day well-done.
  5. Do your sun salutations–literally. I’m not just talking about the yoga poses, either. Getting outside for a few minutes every day really does wonders to increase creativity and productivity, and it gets easier to do this as the days grow longer. It goes back to my last blog post about neurotransmitters like seratonin being activated by bright light. Bonus points for you if you meditate out there or do some yoga under the sun!