How to get your head in the game–or in the story.

I had an excellent question this week about writing. Though I’m not sure it’s from a legitimate source, it is a good question.

I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your head before writing. I’ve had a difficult time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out.

I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin.
Any ideas or tips? Cheers!

Everyone has their own way of clearing their head before writing. Some have a ritual. Others have a designated area. Writers may read through what they wrote the previous day or simply read the last sentence.

Me? As strange as it seems I open the document, read a few lines and begin.  At least I can do that now; I couldn’t when I started.

When I first began, it was much more difficult, and I felt ever second of those first 10 to 15 minutes before I felt the flow tug at my fingers. Once I got to that point writing was easier-though never easy.

Currently I have a few things that help me write.

First of all, while I might still be a pantser, I do outline some of the things that could happen in each chapter. It’s more of a list than an outline and might have notes like: MC needs to find the weapon; SC joins the fight; BG leaves a clue and LI saves the day.  There’s nothing concrete in any of those statements so I’m not bound to any particular idea. Also I can choose not to use one or carry it over to the next chapter if I so choose.

Secondly, I have found that word wars throttles the urge to figure things out. When you are trying to beat someone with a word count you don’t have time to fuss over how do I begin. You simply put down words. Of course some of them might be horrible, but at least you have those out of the way. You can always go back and delete or revise later.

Lastly have confidence in your story. I have found that when you hesitate in writing you are often unsure about your story. Let me tell you a secret. No one’s first draft is good. There’s just too many things Draft 0 isn’t going to do. With me it’s usually more of a very detailed outline that tells a story with holes the size of mammoths.

*hears laughing  and sticks out her tongue.*

But I know that in later drafts I will fill in the holes (with a backhoe if I must) and have something to be proud of.

I hope that answers your question.

If you have any others I’d be happy to answer.

Thanks for reading!


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