Tag Archives: productivity

Your attitude through all this is very important. Writer’s block doesn’t exist, but general malaise and depression and disinterest do, and those must be combated.

Chuck Wendig

Making Time For Warm-Up Writing

Astronomical ClockIn my last post I talked about the importance of warm-up writing. It’s magic. It gets you past the creaky, just-woken-up feeling in your writing and straight into the part where you remember why you love to do this.

But doesn’t it seem like warm-up writing will steal time from your ‘real’ projects?

Making Time

I’m always saying that no-one should wait until they ‘have’ time or ‘find’ time to write. You need to make time.

As a twist on that, warm-up writing actually grants us me more time to write the good stuff.

Time Crunch

Last year I took part in my first NaNoWriMo. I also had a part-time job and a family to look after. Finding time to write 1667 words every day for 30 days was a challenge.

At first I skipped the warm-up writing because it just seemed like such a waste of time.

Gradually, however, I realized I was still doing my warm-up writing; only I was writing it into the novel. Starting my novel writing every day was painful, stilted, creaky. Only when I got to about 750 did it start to flow.

So I started taking the 20 minutes to write my 750 words on things that didn’t matter.

Then, I would plunge into my novel, fresh and raring to go. Before I knew what had happened I was flying past my daily deadlines.

Of course, I started doing warm-up writing every day (OK, most days. I’m not that smart.)


So how about you? Do you do warm-up writing? if you do, what and where do you do it? If you don’t, why not?


The Very First Thing A Writer Should Do Each Day

Beach Inspiration by Debbie Ohi

Used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at Inkygirl.com.

It’s hard enough to find time to write. Then, when you finally do, you face the paralysis of the blank page/blinking cursor.

The most useful tool I have discovered for getting past that frozen moment of potential is to do some warm-up writing.

Morning Pages And The Truth Point

I first discovered this technique in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way in the form of her morning pages.

Cameron advises you to sit down first thing every morning and write three pages’ worth of nothing in particular, just to see what come out. She lets you get several weeks into the program before asking,

Have you discovered the Truth Point yet?

And I had.

I discovered that somewhere on the second page (if I was writing longhand), my writing went from being awkward to flowing. Try it. After a page or two, you’ll find something to write about or you might just find your descriptions getting more interesting, your turn of phrase more entertaining and natural.

After writing ‘nothing’ for three pages, you’ll be able to plunge into an actual writing project and be at your best on the first line.

750Words.com

Flash forward a decade or two, and the website 750words.com offers an online version of Morning Pages, complete with somewhere to do your writing in case you don’t want to write on your blog or in a notebook that someone might find.

The host of 750words.com credits Cameron with inspiring the site, and says that 750 words is the ‘truth point’ for many people.

I have writing friends who blog first thing in the morning just as a way of warming up. Other people write letters to friends.

Tips For Warm-Up Writing

The only thing I would add is that, like 750words.com, you should be free to protect your warm-up writing. It’s not meant for display. It’s meant as warm-up. If you’re happy posting your warm-up writing to a blog or posting it off toa  friend, great. But protect yourself as much as you need to.

And no sneaking off and reading Twitter or Facebook, or your favourite author, now!

How To Write A Story A Day

I’m not sure yet (because I haven’t done it), but I think it’s going to be possible to write a story a day.

Here are some of the ways I’m planning to make time every day to tell stories:

Tell Stories To My Children

One of the main reasons I have little time to write is that I have children. It’s tough to sit down and writing a story when someone is likely to burst in and tell you that they *neeeeed* something right now, and another one trails behind him saying that he *neeeeeds* the same thing, or more likely something completely different.

But I have found that one of the best ways to ‘write’ stories is to tell them to my children. Whether at bedtime or during potty-training, or in the car, there’s nothing quite like having a live audience for keeping you going. If their attention starts to wander, you know you have to step up the action. If you pause for a moment, they demand to know what happened next.

Maybe if I can carry my phone around with me and record the stories I tell to the kids, that’ll help me out a few times.

In The Car

Again with the motherhood thing, I spend quite a lot of time driving around. Sometimes I’m alone, and sometimes they’re wa-ay in the back playing with toys. Again,  with my trusty phone nearby, I can tell at least part of a story on every journey. I think recording stories is going to be really helpful, even though I love to write (with a fountain pen and everything).

Word Count Challenges

I like limitations. I like to know I only have 1000 or 200 or 50 words into which I have to shoehorn a story. Some days I’m planning to set myself a short word count limit and trying to craft a short story within it.

Time Limits

I always found that seat-of-the-pants writing during exams worked really well for me. With a time limit, I can’t afford to listen to the inner critic. So some days will be Time Limit days. Write a story within an hour, half an hour, by 3pm, whatever seems to work that day.

Genres & Styles

Some days I’ll assign myself a genre to work in. Write a film noir story, write in the style of Virginia Woolfe, write a monologue, write in the third person.

Rewrites

Like the genre/styles assignments I’m planning to write the same story several different ways. I”ve got another blog post coming with more details about that)

So, those are some of my ideas. How about you?