Are you stifling your creativity?

What does creativity mean to you?

I believe that creativity is being open to your ideas and thoughts. It is to create a piece of writing without your internal critic constantly making you edit, judge and delete parts.

Creativity, for me, is being able to get all my thoughts out onto paper without my own head getting in the way telling me the rough draft and my ideas are no good.

 So why is creativity so important?

When writing your first draft, it is just that. A first draft; not a final copy. A first draft should be rough, unedited and uncensored. Spew forth your ideas. The challenge is to type or write fast enough to keep up with the flow of thought in your mind and capture the essence of your story before it flies away.

Your creative side is what you tap into in order to write this first draft. Don’t get me wrong; you do need a critical component as well. But that should come later, when it comes to reviewing and editing your writing project. For now, let your creative side reign free and produce that masterpiece I know is hiding in your mind.

Stifling your creativity.

Creativity is easy to suppress. More often then not, our habit is to review and judge as we write. This restricts our creativity and creates a lot of difficulty when attempting to write your first draft. You worry that it is terrible, your ideas are lame, you are anxious because you don’t know which direction your book will take and that all the effort is pointless. You constantly judge and review before you give yourself the chance to capture those great ideas.

You need to learn how to silence this inner critic and editor during the initial writing stage. You need to trust in your inspiration and ideas, instead of rejecting them before they have time to evolve into a story. You must learn to embrace that vision and let it explode out without restriction.

A great way to loosen up and learn to shut out your internal critic is to “free-write”. Give yourself 5 minutes to jot down everything that pops into your head without editing or backspacing. It is a great way to let go of your inhibitions and loosen you up.

Creative vs. Critical Side

Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to suppress your inner critic forever! You will need that critical thinking when it comes time to review and edit your novel. However, once again, you need to be able to tap into that creativity. As you write and revise you will need your creative side to produce better and stronger images and words. Editing and reviewing your novel will take a fine balance between your critical and creative sides, and the only way to become better at it is to keep practicing! The more you do it, the better you will become.

 
The moral is, don’t let your own self get in the way of that great novel hiding inside of you.

 

How to Create Powerful Writing

How to create Powerful Writing

Creating a powerful and memorable piece of writing is so much more then simply knowing proper spelling and grammar. You want to convey emotions and portray a picture, to draw your reader into your story so they can see what you see, and feel what you feel, when you write. You want them to be thinking about it long after they have finished reading.

I want you to take a moment and close your eyes. Think about a piece of writing that truly engaged you, that made you want to keep reading, that evoked emotions and passion and made it hard to put down. I want you to analyse what it was about that particular piece that resonated with you? What made it so memorable for you?

When you have roughed out a first draft, think about the following points to create powerful writing as you re-write and edit. They may help your writing to go from mediocre to emotive and gripping.

1. Know your audience

As a writer, your job is to know whom you are targeting with your writing. You need to know what will hold their interest, what language they will understand, what will appeal to them and the beliefs and knowledge they hold. This will help you to write a book that resonates with your target audience and will also help when it comes to marketing strategies.

2. Flow and readability

You need your writing to be readable and flow seamlessly to create powerful writing. The readability of your work is determined by sound grammar and clear writing that your reader will find easy to understand. Flow is created by consistency of tone, style and tense as well as logical transitions between scenes, dialogue, paragraphs or chapters.

3. Focused

Powerful writing has a goal in mind, an intended point. It may be that you are selling something, attempting to convince someone of something, explaining how to do something, or instilling a belief or moral through telling a story. It does not matter what your goal is, but you must have it clear in mind when you are writing so you remain focused and clear.

 4. Compelling

Powerful writing reaches out and grabs the readers’ attention. Find that one thing that is unique to your story and expound upon that, use it to create interest and intrigue, to cause readers to pick your piece or writing over others.

 5. Passion

You cannot make your reader care about something unless you care about it yourself. If you wish you could make a list of topics you are passionate about and develop writing projects from there. You can use your passion to make your intended audience care about your topic, or to heighten their emotions in regards to a topic they are already passionate about. Great writing grows from passion and emotion.

 6. Multiple Senses

You use your full range of senses of site, sound, touch, taste and smell when experiencing events in the real world. To create powerful writing, you need to evoke these senses in your readers through great description.

 7. Characters

A great tool to create powerful writing is to develop intriguing and complex characters that your readers will either love or hate. You must also give your audience insight into your characters. What makes them tick? What are their motivations and aspirations? What are their likes and dislikes? What sets them apart from others? The more your audience knows about your characters, the more they will relate to them and what you’re putting them through.

 8. Strong Emotions

Evoking strong emotions will keep your reader interested, and will ensure they want to know what happens next. Humans are emotional and for the most part social creatures. We want to feel like we are part of something; we want to feel empathy and sympathy. Our job as a writer is to make them feel happy, sad, angry, triumphant, and everything in between.

9. Point of View and Voice

The point of view and voice you choose to convey in your writing piece can have a strong impact on your audience and how they relate to it. Point of view will change how close or removed your reader is from what is happening in the story, and voice is how the story is being told. Is it humorous? Sarcastic? Matter of fact? Is it told from a childs’ perspective, therefore a childs’ voice? You must answer all of these questions and have them clear in your mind when writing. How you want your story to sound and to be conveyed will determine point of view and voice.

10. Less is More

Don’t use two words when one more powerful word is available. It helps to keep your sentences easy to read and avoids the pitfall of “overwriting”.

 11. Use an active voice

There is a big difference between passive and active voice, and how it will affect your writing. Powerful writing uses active voice to draw the reader in and evoke potent emotions. Be wary of being caught out by the passive voice!

Useful Articles on Powerful Writing:

 “8 Qualities of Powerful Writing” – Dustin Wax

“5 Powerful Writing Techniques That Bring Stories To Life” – Henry Herz

“Follow These Rules For Stronger Writing” – Writers Digest

 

Lies About Becoming A Writer.

Lies About Becoming A Writer

I just read an interesting article “7 Lies About Becoming A Writer (that you probably believe)” by Joe Bunting.

He addresses 7 common myths about becoming a writer that we too often believe we need to follow in order to be successful or about how big that success will be. I have no delusions about how tough the journey is to becoming a recognised and published writer, and maintaining that success. However, this article drives the point home. Publishing my first novel isn’t about a get-rich-quick scheme, or a step to living a life of luxury. To me it is about personal accomplishment and pride. I have always dreamt of being an author, and I will achieve it!

I would also add another common belief to his list of 7 lies. Creativity and talent. (Yes I know, technically that is two additions)! Whilst having some creativity and a talent for writing helps, I don’t believe it is essential. If you have what you think is a solid idea, then start writing! There are so many sites out there that can help you plot and plan your idea. Or you can always hire someone to aid in fleshing out your idea and making it work. I have never thought of myself as a creative person, yet here I am making a career (or attempting to) out of writing. It is not about talent, creativity or inspiration. It is simply about a lot of hard work, dedication and commitment.

“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” – Stephen King

 

Where do you write?

Where do you write?

I have read many articles and blogs about treating your writing as your job. Which of course, it is if you are trying to make money from it! These articles and blogs talk about setting up a space in your house, or even to rent an office, where you can go to write.

I don’t know about you, but I cannot do this. For one, our house is simply not big enough for me to have a dedicated place. And for two, I believe that as writers we have the absolute luxury of taking our writing wherever we go. Laptops, journals, pens, books are all so easily transported. If it is a nice day out, then go write in the park! If it is wet and miserable then curl up on the couch. Where ever you are comfortable is where you should write! When it comes to writing, I think being relaxed and comfortable is more important then a set spot you write every day. Not only that but a change in scenery can be key to overcoming writers block and prompting your creativity.

I do not dispute the need to treat your writing as a job and try to stick to regular hours during the day, and not slacking off. But the plus of working from home is you can pick and choose your hours and where you work. As long as you get the work done!

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I was recently on a family trip away, and when inspiration struck I had my computer there to tap away on for an hour or so. The view from where I was writing was breathtaking. We were staying right on the river, and were surrounded by the native Australian bush. It was quiet, peaceful, and calm. The words flowed out of me as swift and true as the river in front of me.

I have said it a million times, and I will say it again. Writing is a very individual process; you need to find what works for you. If it is setting up an office space, then do so. If, like me, you enjoy taking your work with you and writing wherever you end up then embrace it! Use everything around you to inspire and create.

So where do you write? I would love to see a photo or hear about your writing space and where you go to create!

Procrastination

Procrastination

We are all guilty of procrastinating at one time or another. Most of us struggle with it every single day. So what leads us to procrastinate? Lack of motivation? Fear? Poor habits? Let’s explore what can lead to procrastination.

When you are reading through this, be honest with yourself. Question yourself constantly to find what drives you to procrastinate. Once you identify what it is, then you can address it and overcome the battle every procrastinator faces!

If you are looking to procrastinate some more, then read on for tips on overcoming procrastination or click the links to the articles I found useful and memorable.

Overcoming Procrastination – MindTools.

Tim Urban “Why Procastinators Procrastinate” has created a great article on procrastination, complete with cartoon drawings to demonstrate!

Barriers to overcoming procrastination:

Motivation:

If you aren’t excited or inspired by your project, then you will find any excuse not to write. Motivation and procrastination seem to go hand in hand most of the time.

Fear of success:

It sounds silly and counterintuitive, but this is one of the most common fears people suffer from. Why? Isn’t the whole reason we write and create and put our work out there to become a success? But then the pressure is on to maintain that success and keep producing the goods. If you find yourself constantly trying to get your life in order rather then focusing on the important tasks and projects you need to complete then perhaps you are suffering from a fear of success. Do you put roadblocks, problems and challenges in your own way because of an internal fear? Are you afraid of change in your life that will be bought about by success? Then perhaps this is why you find yourself stuck in the rut of procrastination!

Fear of Failure:

No one likes to fail; it is never a nice feeling no matter the circumstances. When you fear failure it can lead to procrastination by indulging in un-resourceful and unnecessary perfectionism. You may struggle with feelings of inadequacy and negativity, which lead to reluctance to work or submit your work.

Fear of Judgment:

Do you constantly worry about what other people may think of your work? Sometimes we worry about this so much it can stop us from undertaking the task at hand.

Perfectionism:

I believe that we need to have some level of perfectionism to create a great solid piece of writing, however we have to rein it in before it rules our lives! Otherwise you may find yourself redoing the same piece of work over and over again in an attempt to create the perfect piece of writing but never submitting it.

Over Planning:

I am so very guilty of this! I write lists, plans, timelines and plans for plans. I break every little project down into even smaller projects and before I realize it I have wasted days just planning without actually writing or progressing on my novel. Planning is of course incredibly important when writing, however there comes a time when you have to take action, stop planning on how to do things and just do them!

Overwhelmed:

It is easy to feel intimidated and overwhelmed by a big project, or by lots of little projects. This is where planning comes in handy (remembering not to over plan). If you feel you are facing an impossible task then you will put off starting or continuing the project.

Frustration:

Stricken down by writers block? Story not turning out how you wanted or thought it would? Your characters are not behaving? These are all very frustrating and annoying, which makes it even harder to relax and write. If you are frustrated every time you sit down to write, then you will dither around and put off working on your writing project.

Social Media:

In this day and age we are connected to the Internet and outside world wherever we go. It is important when selling your work to have an online presence, but it can be distracting and time consuming.

Strategies to conquer procrastination

To become motivated you must understand what is stopping you from feeling inspired and creative. See  Creating Motivation and Motivation for further advice and information.

Fear of success, failure and judgment are hard to overcome. You will have to find your inner strength to battle these fears. A good support network made up of family, friends and other writers can be a great resource. Many people suffer these same fears. Reach out on forums, social networks, writers’ conferences and many other places. I guarantee you will find at least one other person who feels the same as you. I know I do. The only advice I can give is to focus on why you write, what you would like to gain from it, and the pride you will have when you finish your writing piece. Try to focus on the positives of your work, and what you achieve. Keep shoving that fear aside until it disappears. It’s like the old adage “fake it till you make it”.

Perfectionism is a very subjective and personal concept. How many times is too many to proofread and edit? 10? 20? 100? How long can you spend developing the perfect story line? There comes a time where you just have to bite the bullet and write or submit your work. I always have someone else read over my rough draft, and then later when I have proofread and edited about as much as I could stand I get him or her to read what I hope is the final copy. I always pick someone who I know will be honest and brutal. If they deem my work ok then off it goes! It is hard to identify if you are being overzealous in your work. It is a matter of tapping into your intuition and knowledge to recognize when you have finished.

To stop over planning in its tracks I set a time limit for how long I can spend writing lists and timelines. I allow myself a day to “plan” my writing project if it’s relatively big! If I find myself re-writing to-do lists, lists for lists or plans for plans, then I stop and ask myself “why am I procrastinating”? I give myself a stern talking to, take a quick 15-minute break, and then start writing.

Feeling overwhelmed is a relatively easy block to overcome. This is where you put those valuable planning skills to use. Look at your whole project, break it down into smaller tasks and get cracking! If this doesn’t work, then allow yourself to step away for a break. Go for a walk, or out for a coffee. Remove yourself from your writing space and clear your head. Hopefully when you return to your work you are relaxed and ready to tackle your project again.

The frustration of writers block, or stories and character’s not behaving as you wish them too makes for a great reason to procrastinate. This is where writing exercises, or warm-ups come in handy, putting you in the right frame of mind to create and write. Sometimes it is a matter of taking a break from that particular writing project for a few days, start something new, and then come back to it.

There are different schools of thought about social media, Internet and email usage during your writing time. Personally, I believe allocating a short space of time each day before you start on your own project is useful. It maintains your online presence, and gets it out of the way so you are not distracted when settling down to write. I usually set a time limit of how long I will browse the social media sites, answer emails and update my own sites before going on to do a few warm ups and then finally working on my own project. I am strict on not connecting to the Internet at all, unless for research, when working on my current project.

Procrastination breeds inactivity and sets you up for failing. If you learn to identify how, why and when you procrastinate you can overcome it. You just need to be honest with yourself, and nip it in the bud!

Motivation

Motivation

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.

            -Jim Rohn

How to become motivated? How to stay motivated? What motivates you? For every person, the answer to these questions will be different. People find diverse ways to become motivated, and maintain it. What motivates each individual is also very subjective, and depends on whether they rely on extrinsic or intrinsic sources.

I find motivation is always hard to find, and none so hard then in the silly season. You become so busy with Christmas parties and preparation, last minute gift shopping, wrapping, cooking and cleaning! The list seems endless. Then after it all dies down you are just so tired. You just want to curl up on the couch with a good book and rest for weeks! The silly season is a good reason to rest for a while, take a break from writing, recharge your batteries and come back to it with a fresher mind and different perspective. This can actually inspire you and help make good progress when you sit down to write again. However, what about the rest of the time? The struggle to become motivated, and maintain it, is a big one. I know I labour with it, and that is what inspired this blog.

Basically we need to think to plan, but we need to feel to act. So, once you have the thinking and planning out of the way, how do you build up those emotions so you can get things done? Personally, I focus on what I imagine the finished product will be; the sense of pride I get from seeing a project through; and hopefully all the positive feedback I will receive! It seems I rely on a mix of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Take a moment to think about what makes you feel good about your writing? Why do you write? The answer to these questions will help you ascertain what motivates you. Use these to help keep up your motivation.

Lack of motivation can also hit when the writing project in front of you seems insurmountable. The sheer size and extent of the venture before you can be daunting and overwhelming. In this case, I break the overall big project down into smaller assignments that I can tackle one by one. Each time I tick of a task, it sends a little thrill of achievement and pride through me. This is what helps maintain my motivation and complete the bigger project.

You can create a “motivation board”. Like a mood board, use it to pin up all those things that motivate and inspire you. Keep it somewhere close to where you usually write. Then each time you feel yourself lagging, look up at that board and let it inspire and motivate you to keep writing!

How to Motivate Yourself at Anytime by Jane Genovese has some great ideas on motivation. It is well worth a read for more tips and ideas.

Motivation is a personal thing. You simply need to find what motivates you and use it to the best of your ability to keep going. The more you write, the easier it will become.

 

 

Point of View Exercise

Point of view exercise-2

Point of view is a very important consideration when planning your writing project. It can draw your reader in as though they are experiencing the story themselves, or it can place them further away so they are observing from a distance.

I find it helpful when planning my writing projects to write the same paragraph from different points of view. It helps me to figure out which point of view I feel most comfortable with and creates the most powerful story. Not only is the exercise helpful to plan your writing project, it is also a great warm up exercise!

This exercise is fairly simple. Pick a paragraph, conversation or scene that you have roughly formed for your writing project. It doesn’t have to be perfect, a rough draft will be fine. Then write this small piece of your story from as many different views as you would like.

Take your time to really explore each different perspective. When you are done read over each one carefully. What are the benefits from each? Which point of view didn’t work? Which point of view do you believe managed to capture the story as you pictured it? Which perspective do you feel the most comfortable with? These questions will help you weed out the points of view that didn’t work for your writing piece.

The aim after this exercise is to help you pick the point of view that will create the most powerful story, one the reader will relate to and want to read again and again!

 

 

Free Writing

Free Writing

Free writing is an essential tool to any writer. It is an important practice that helps to improve your ability to write, encourages you to listen to your thoughts and to write with more confidence. It is also a fantastic way to warm up before knuckling down to tackle your current project!

Joel Friedlander explains the concept of free writing in his article “Unleash Your Creativity Now: How to Freewrite” quite well. Free writing is a simple and effective tool to help warm up and stretch your creative muscle! It releases all those pent up ideas and stray thoughts in your head so you can approach your writing project with a clear mind and an easy flow of words.

How to “free-write”:

Like any pre-writing warm up it is important to set a time limit. 10 minutes is a good length of time; however if that seems too daunting to begin with then try 5 minutes.

Set your timer and start writing. Write non-stop until you run out of time. Do not stop to edit, plan or correct. Just keep your hand moving the whole time. Write whatever thoughts pass through your head. If you cannot think of anything to write, then just write that over and over again until something else pops into your head. Write poorly, it doesn’t matter. You don’t need to worry about punctuation, spelling, grammar, margins, paragraphs, word choice or messiness. Just keep your hand moving. There is no right or wrong, no good or bad. It is just a way to get the words flowing, to help you move pass any barriers in your mind and get your thoughts out.

FREE WRITING EXAMPLE

 

Directed Free-writing:

Another way of free writing is a more directed approach of picking a topic. You can utilize a word or topic from your word jar, or pick a topic such as a recent trip, a pet, a holiday, work, a photograph etc. Once you have picked your topic, set your timer and off you go! Once again, don’t let your hand stop; keep the words and thoughts flowing and let your inhibitions go.

DIRECTED FREE WRITING EXAMPLE

The Art of Journaling

 

The Art of Journaling

I had never been one to keep a journal, and the few times I attempted, the entries were spasmodic and few between. The closest I came to consistent journaling was a book my best friends and I kept back in high school of letters we wrote to each other. It was very cathartic and maybe one day some of those letters will form a bestseller! But I never thought of myself as the type of person who kept a journal.

Then I read some articles about how journaling can be a very useful tool for writers. The premise of the articles was that journaling is a great way to improve your writing, as well as a great warm-up activity that stimulates ideas and gets the creative juices flowing.

One article I found that inspired me to keep a journal “What is a Journal and Why Keep One?” on the Creative Writing Now website. The article also has some useful links to other pages about journaling, in particular how to keep a creative journal, and some great journal prompts.

Seeing as I have knuckled down and become serious about my writing I thought I should give it a try. What could it hurt? Since then I have been writing in a journal almost everyday. Despite my initial hesitation it has really helped to get all the chaos out of my head and onto paper. It may not make sense to anyone else, but no one else has to read it! It makes sense to me, and it has definitely helped to inspire and stimulate thoughts and ideas for current and future projects.

In my recent experience of journaling I have found that it is not only therapeutic but a great place to record all those snippets of scenes, or vague ideas for writing projects that seem to float through your mind at random times. I’m sure you know how frustrating it is when you are staring at a blank page, that great idea eluding you because you cannot fully remember it. If only you kept a journal, you could have jotted the idea down and come back to it when you had the time to bash out the details!

It is also great in the case of writers block. I read back over my entries and find inspiration. I have a colour code system where I highlight certain things in my journal so when I am flipping through for ideas to do with my writing projects I just look for that colour, as opposed to having to read every single entry. This may be a little nerdy and too much like a control-freak for you, but it works for me! And that’s the point of any writing exercise, to adapt and change it to suit your needs and style.

Your journal can be anything from a simple notepad to an app on your computer. It can be as dull or as fancy as you like. It doesn’t matter what or how you choose to journal, the point of it is to write everyday, or as often as you can. Try work it into part of your routine, whether it’s just before you sit down to work on your current project or just before you go to bed. Find what works best for you. I have a set time before bed each night where I will write in my journal. I use this time to reflect on the events of the day and how my writing is progressing. However my journal is never far from my side these days as I have learnt to jot down those fleeting thoughts and ideas as they enter my head. I know some people who scribble their ideas on scraps of paper or napkins (whatever is handy at the time) and later stick these into their journal. Once again, it is about finding the habit and technique that suits you.

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Coffee and Journal, the simple things in life!

 

Journal Ideas.

If the idea of keeping a “dear diary” journal doesn’t appeal to you, there are many other ways to journal that still achieve the same goal of establishing the healthy habit of writing every day. We all know that the more you write, the better your writing becomes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. People watch. You can use people who are already in your life, or take your journal to a café, a bookshop, a hotel lobby, anywhere you go where there are people. Make notes about the people you see from their physical appearance, the sound of their voices and laughter, to their body language and the way they relate to people and the environment around them. Use your imagination to come up with their back-story. These character descriptions could very well kick-start your next story, provide a new character or even revamp a character in your current book.
  2. Listen to all the conversations happening around you. To family and friends, strangers on the train or in the café. Listen to the unique rhythms and cadence that make up their speech, the words they use, the pauses and the tones. This helps you learn how to capture different voices that will provide added depth to your writing. And you may even overhear an interesting conversation that will inspire your next story!
  3. Take a walk or an excursion. Take a walk outside and describe what you see. Not just the sites, but also the sounds, smell and feel of the walk. You can also take an excursion to a place you need to describe in your book, like a movie theatre or hospital. Write down the details, no matter how big or small that make up the place. And once again don’t just focus on what you can see but use all of your senses to help add depth and authenticity to your writing.
  4. Use real-life stories. Have you ever heard or read a story in the news and wondered what exactly lead to that event? Use that as inspiration in your journal. What is the story of the people involved, what led to the event; what where they thinking and feeling; what will happen next?
  5. Free-write. Set your timer, 5 minutes should be sufficient, and keep writing for that length of time. Don’t stop. If you can’t think of anything to write, then write that you can’t think of anything to write. You can keep writing the same thing over and over again until something else comes to mind. Do not stop to edit, judge or correct. The point is to warm your “creative muscle” up and get the words flowing, to limber your mind!
  6. Try different points of view. This could be describing the same scene from many different points of view (first person, third person, omniscient etc). Or you could describe the world around you from the point of view of a child, or animal, or object. For example, how would a cat describe your living room? How would a cat describe you in the living room? What parts of the room would attract the cat, or would they overlook?
  7. Collect words and expressions. If you hear a word or an expression that you liked jot it down in your journal. Research the meaning or story behind it; it can be quite an adventure. For example, the old saying “cat got your tongue”. This is used quite commonly and dates back to the middle ages when witches were feared. The story goes that if you spotted a witch her cat would steal your tongue to stop you from telling anyone.
  8. Collect creative writing ideas. This is just simply jotting down ideas that pop into your head for your creative projects. From names of characters, places, events, topics and themes.
  9. Dreams. Wake up in the morning and record what you remember of your dreams. It is surprising what your subconscious dredges up!

There’s so many more prompts out there you can use. There is another list of journal prompts I have compiled simply by googling and asking other writers I know who write in their journal everyday. Feel free to use it!

Journaling everyday helps to foster a healthy writing habit, and can inspire and limber up your mind. It can be as personal as you want, or simply utilizing one or more of the journal topics above. The point is to write whatever you want, as often as you can to keep your creative mind active.

 

 

 

Warm-up your creative muscle!

Warm-Up Your Creative Muscle

You stretch before exercise so why not “stretch” before exerting your creative muscle? Warming up before beginning whatever writing project you are currently working on can assist with flow of thought and productivity. It helps to eliminate distractions and limber up your mind.

It may sound like a bizarre concept, but in many artistic and creative pursuits people warm-up. A singer will perform throat exercises to loosen their vocal cords; an artist will draw rough sketches to warm-up. So what can a writer do?

There are many different writing warm-up exercises you can employ. I have briefly described a few exercises I find useful below; however, you can click on the link to go through to a more detailed explanation of each warm-up. These are just a small sample of what I have found worked for me. There are so many more out there, and you can even develop your own. It is simply a matter of finding what works best for you and your writing style.

  • Journaling – helps to stimulate thoughts and record ideas.
  • Free Writing – write non-stop whatever thoughts fly into your heard for a set amount of time.
  • Word Jar – have a jar full of random words, pick one out and write about it for a certain length of time.
  • Random word link – Pick 3 random words and link them together in a short story or paragraph.

It doesn’t matter which one or how many warm-up activities you choose to use, the point of them is to get the writing process started and the words rolling. Generally speaking, getting started is the most difficult part of writing. It is much easier to carry over this flow of words and thoughts the warm-up exercises produce into your current project when your mind has been engaged in this manner.

To further enhance your writing ability, creativity and productivity form a routine that includes warm-up time. A routine that incorporates a warm-up can help activate the right frame of mind to approach your work. It is easy to use these exercises as another excuse to procrastinate, so be sure to set a time limit on how long you will warm-up for. About 10-20minutes is an ideal length so that you relax into your writing and hopefully when you start your project you wont be staring at a blank screen for long.

HELPFUL SITES

As mentioned earlier there are many different warm-up activities you can perform before (or during) writing. Here is a quick list of sites with some great exercises and ideas for warming up.

10 Writing Warm-Up Exercises – Writers Inkwell

Don’t Ever Write Without This Writer’s Warm-Up – ProBlogger

5 Great Writing Warm Up Activities…And What They Lead To – Adam Simpson

Writing Warm-Ups – WriteShop

Experiment and mix it up until you find a routine and warm-up that suits your needs and writing style. It may seem like a lot of hard work now, but you will be grateful when you settle into it and discover how much time it really saves. You will greatly reduce the amount of time you stare at a blank screen waiting for inspiration to hit. And if you find that at any time during your writing you get stuck, you can use one of the activities to loosen up and get the words flowing again.

Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.
Jane Yolen