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You know what drives me crazy about this thing we call writing?

Sometimes I can write like the wind. The ideas are flowing, multiple words effortlessly appearing before my eyes, and I can hardly keep up.

Other times, I can barely eke out my name. After four hours of slogging through the swamplands of random words, I can point to an anemic paragraph that substantiates my work.

What can we do to turn on the spigot of our creative juices?

This is the third installment in our series “Seven Essential Strategies to Finish Your Manuscript in 2020.” Here are the first two:

Essential Key #1: Remove Your Distractions

Essential Key #2: Practice Self-Discipline

Before I share Essential Key #3, I want you to know that Karen Bouchard, Larry Yoder, and I are available for free thirty-minute consultations to help you finish your manuscript.

We normally charge $120 per hour, so that’s $60 in your pocket—no strings attached!

Mike Klassen Schedule NOW

Larry Yoder Schedule NOW

Karen Bouchard Schedule NOW

Today, I’m going to share with you the single most important key to maximizing your time so you can finish that manuscript.

Years ago, I stumbled across this insight…

While authoring my first book, Prayers to Move Your Mountains, I noticed that at the beginning of the day, I could write with abandon. Slash and burn through rainforests of words.

Around mid-day, though, my brain turned to mush, and I could barely compose a sentence. Then around 3 pm, my brain rose from the dead and for the next couple of hours, the slashing and burning continued.

I’m a slow learner, but over time, I realized that my creative juices followed the same pattern every day.

With this discovery, I now try to organize every day around my body rhythms. For years, I’ve scheduled my creative time in the morning and my meetings in the afternoon (I noticed that conversations wake me up).

In fact, I realized that my best writing time occurred between 5 am and 9 am in the morning. So, I didn’t let anything get in the way—not a morning run, not a shower, and especially not a big breakfast (which made me groggy). Then at 9 am, I shaved, showered, and either ran to work, worked out, or ran some errands. After lunch, I would take a nap, perhaps do a little research, and then from 3 pm to 5 pm, I got back to writing.

When I worked full-time as a pastor, I rarely scheduled early morning meetings because it conflicted with my writing window. In my twenty years of working dual roles as a pastor and freelance writer, I wrote at least fifteen books by following this important principle:

Follow your body rhythms.

I even scheduled my work on this post so it would be the first thing I do in the morning because I knew it would take twice as long to write an inferior post if I started it in the late morning or early afternoon.

Obviously, most, if not all of you reading this email, work a day job. However, most of you are alert either first thing in the morning or in the evening.

Follow your body rhythms.

Organize your off-work schedule around your body rhythms. And whatever you do, organize your days off so you’re at your computer when you’re at your best.

Follow your body rhythms.

Here’s another habit I practice: when I experience a burst of inspiration, I stop whatever I’m doing and start writing. If you’re at work, take copious notes so you can return later to your writing.

Finally, here’s a list of things that turn on my creative writing spigot:

  • A strong cup of coffee
  • Humor—laughter kicks in the endorphins
  • A good night’s sleep—nothing is as effective in stemming the creative flow like a lack of sleep
  • Playing classical music while I shave and shower—it helps me focus
  • Playing music that stirs happy memories from my youth
  • Mowing the lawn (at times, I’ve shut off the mower mid-lawn so I could run inside and jot a few notes)
  • Jogging

It doesn’t hurt to spend time assessing your body rhythms.

What times of the day are you normally at your writing best?

What activities tend to stir your creative juices?

Do it now!