Staring at a blank screen, or a blank piece of paper, is intimating at times. We seem to have so many ideas in our minds, but putting those ideas into the world physically can be a big step. What if it’s not the way I wanted it to look or sound? What if I can’t find the right words? What if………… I get it. It’s not easy.
But, and stick with me, it can be as easy as one word. I know that for me, the start to a writing day might mean opening an empty document and just writing/typing some words. Words that are bouncing around in my head; words of intention or purpose; words that are funny, or absurd; words that have meaning, or not. There is something about overcoming that initial obstacle of getting words onto paper.
There’s a great line: write drunk, edit sober. I think there’s something to this phrase. The loss of inhibition. The gained confidence. The lack of overthinking.
When I was teaching, I would sometimes have students write continuously for five minutes. At first, it seemed impossible and some kids wrote the same word over and over again. But, as time went on, they suddenly started to write sentences, then ideas. Maybe those ideas didn’t connect, but it was a way of getting words onto paper without having to overthink on the words of the perfect thought. A brain dump, if you will.
Setting yourself a timer to write, or type, words, just words, and see where that takes you. Sometimes there are gems hidden in that day’s quick writing, sometimes it’s just writing with nothing to take away. But either way, it warms up your brain to get going.
I like to think of athletes, athletes of all types! The warm-up is essential to the activity. The older I get, the more important it is to warm up my muscles before I play soccer, do a set of tai chi, lift some hand weights, or go for a run. I think that we need to be kind to our creative mind as well: we need to warm up! Don’t jump into something and expect to perform at your best. Sure, sometimes that happens when a wave of creativity hits. But more often than not, writing is work (wonderful and fun work), and so we need to let our brains warm up.
What are your secrets to getting started? How do you warm up for a writing session? I’d love to hear your techniques, tricks, and tips!
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