How to Start Writing Each Day, Part 1

Transition 1Recently, Garcinia asked me a question in a comment.

“I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to writing. I’ve had a tough time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost just trying to figure out how to begin.

“Any recommendations or tips? Appreciate it!”

Although I answered her, I’ve been thinking about her question as I go about a variety of household tasks.  There are numerous ways to transition into writing, but it depends.  Do you need to still your mind or do you need to get the words flowing?

Sometimes transitioning is a matter of figuring out what to write next.  Here are several ways to get the words started if this is the problem you are having.

  1. Stop in the Middle of a Scene.  Starting a new scene can be tricky especially if it is also the beginning of your writing day.  The words aren’t even flowing yet and here you are staring at the new beginning.  As a preventative measure, I sometimes stop writing in the middle of a scene.  Conflict is high and I know exactly what my hero needs to do next.  This means that I’ll know what to write next tomorrow.
  2. Check Your To-Dos.  This is something else that you have to set up the day before but sometimes when I am stopping for the day I WRITE MYSELF SEVERAL TO-DOS IN CAPS.  It might be a note to add this, expand that and move this from here to there, but it is enough to get me started.
  3. Reading Yesterday’s Work.  Sometimes I get started by reading the last few pages that I wrote yesterday.  I don’t let myself edit heavily, but I play with it a bit here and a bit there.  When I reach the end of that old passage, I just keep on writing.
  4. Type in Edits.  I like to do my final rewrite on paper.  Although I hope it will be a matter of simply cutting a word here and there, it often involves new transitions, moving chunks of text and more.   Not only do I see things I might have missed, it gets my work day started.
  5. Morning Pages.  Sometimes it isn’t a matter of knowing what to write next on a particular project but simply getting words in general started.  My friend Jeanie often writes morning pages, a form of journaling in which you do for a set amount of time each morning.

Hopefully, one of these methods will help you get started on your writing day.


2 thoughts on “How to Start Writing Each Day, Part 1

  1. These are good ideas and I do some of them, especially stopping in the middle. If I waited until my mind was clear, I might never write! I do keep a notepad beside me, so when I’m writing and still distracted, I write down the distraction on a to do list for when my writing time is over.

    1. I understand completely. I tend to transition by doing a few e-mail. Not sure why it works but it does. I think it helps to know what you need to write next, but doing horrid household jobs works too. “I can quit scrubbing the shower if I go work on that story…”

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