Sunday, September 13, 2009

Before Jumping In

Before any exercise routine, it’s important to ease into the activity slowly, stretching your muscles before engaging in more energetic activity so you can avoid straining a muscle or rupturing a tendon.

It’s the same with writing. In order to prepare the muscles that you’ll use when you dive deep into your imagination and begin your search for words, you might want to ease into the water with pre-writing exercises.

That means for some writers thinking about what you’ll write before you sit down at your desks.

It might involve general thoughts about the scope or direction of what you want to write, or more specific thoughts about how to begin a sentence, the word to use to start a paragraph, the scene to introduce a new character.

Often these thoughts may seem random when done in your head rather than with pen and paper, but they help once you sit down to write so that you can begin without floundering in the water or fearing that, once in the water, your muscles won’t be able to keep you afloat.

For other writers it means a few pages of free-writing before beginning work on the day’s project.

Or keeping a journal (another form of free-writing) to explore ideas or incidents or themes that may seem interesting at that moment, on that day.

If you think about a project before immersing yourself, or free-write, or keep a journal, you may find the act of pre-writing a kind of meditation on what you’re about to do.

Pre-writing may help you focus your thoughts and energy, and often it may help you gain new insights into a story that bring a deeper understanding of what you're hoping to achieve with your work.

So, next time you’re planning to sit down to write, take a minute or two before jumping in to warm up.

Stretch those muscles!

Up, down, right, left!

Say hello to your hamstrings!

Good morning, spine!

Even a few finger exercises might not hurt.

See if pre-writing makes a difference, and let us know if it gives you a new perspective on your work.

For more on pre-writing, visit:

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