One of the many challenges all writers face including the ones that have been doing it for years is the task of getting started. I also have the same problem where I sit and stare at the screen or a piece of paper, my mind a complete blank as I agonise over how to start and how get into the right frame of mind for writing. The big question is how do you get into that ‘zone’? Recently, one of my lecturers sent me a website to the work of David Morley who is best known for his textbook The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing. The website listed several audio tapes from Morley himself on tips and advice for writers including ‘A Mental Switch’. The idea of this particular writing challenge was addressing how to get yourself into the writing zone and how to ‘translate the desire to write into the will to write’.
The best thing about this challenge was that it was straight forward and is suitable for all types of writers whatever genre you prefer. I have personally myself used this technique before and I know it is widely known by writers but to those who do not know then I will share. The idea of the challenge is for five minutes everyday you are to sit and just write. That’s it. Just write. The only catch is, you can not stop. You are not allowed to pause and think about what your going to say next. Essentially your pen should not leave the paper or your fingertips should not move away from the keyboard. So what do you do if you go blank whilst doing this? I was once told to incorporate ellipsis (…) but to continue until I eventually got out of the funk but I suppose you can choose whatever you want. Obviously, this piece of work is not going to be perfect or make any sense. You are basically writing out your train of thought at the time and these thoughts can change and alter so quickly so do not expect grammar, spelling and coherent sentences to be present whilst doing this task. This task, however, can also be useful for generate ideas if your suffering from writer’s block as you are not under the pressure to produce a great piece of work. This challenge takes writer’s back to the very beginning of the creative writing process and I recommend all writers to attempt this challenge. If five minutes is too long (which sometimes it is) I would suggest only doing it for a minute a day.
If you want to check out some other writing challenges, take a look at the link below and have a listen. You can download all these challenges as a MP3 format so it’s easy to listen too whilst your on the go.
Let me know if you try any of these and what you think!