First of all I want to say excellent blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing. I’ve had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out. I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips?
Sometimes inspiration strikes from the oddest of angles. I was getting ready to write a short post about how much progress I made on Building Blocks. The rather bad photo (sorry, the photo looked better on my device) is the manuscript, which is composed of the mechanics or rules to play my role-playing game, character generation, and equipment. I am happy with my progress and how the manuscript looks and reads. Then I opened my spam folder and saw the above comment.
This is spam, not because of the words, but because of where the comment originated-shoe sponges, which is a rather horrific thought to me. Still something about the words got me thinking and here I am writing about SPAM instead of writing about ME. Who am I kidding I am still writing about me.
Ready for this?
I do not center myself. I do not clear my mind before writing. SHOCKING!
I do not have a quiet corner of the house all to myself and my somewhat trusting computer (I feel my computer is doing less to be helpful of late thus the reduction in trust, shit should I be writing about trusting my computer on my computer? If I go missing check with my computer.)
The television is on, currently season three of Parts Unknown, an excellent series by the way. Barb is talking to me and showing me a creepy crocheted baby. Yes, someone crocheted a baby. The dishwasher is on. My ipad is chirping at me because Homer from Tapped Out has finished something. The furnace is on. The slow cooker needs my attention, not really, I just want to peek inside and yes I know about the clear lid. 🙂 And so on. For many people this would be too many distractions. For me this is just how writing has been. If I want “peace and quiet” to “center myself” I put in the earbuds (I am combining earbuds into one word because while the computer says two, by now, evolution of word-wise, this should be one word).
What do I listen too? Industrial music-Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Frontline Assembly, and so on. Music to stomp to. Not music most people would think too. When the earbuds are in, nobody is to bother me. I am in the zone. Music gets me writing faster and thinking faster. Music gives my writing a rhythm. Sometimes you can even see the rhythm on the page, provided you know what I listen too.
I do not make notes ahead of time. I do not outline. I do not do many of the things that writers are told that they “have” or “should” do. In my head an idea forms. I sit down in front of the computer, paper, shower wall (neat tip: shower walls and doors plus China markers or grease pencils equals place to write, jot down notes, or have fun doodling in the shower) and I write. In my head are the words or a pile of words. I can “see” these words and I pull down what I need and put them here or over there. Writers block for me is when the words are not there or a word is missing.
I just write.
What I do is not what you should do. I do not like writers who offer up what they do as the answer. What they do, what I do, works for them and may not work for you. What I do probably wont work for you either.
The only recommendation that I can offer about writing is this, just write. If you need to make copious notes, then do that, if you can bang out some words do that, do what works for you and do not be afraid to try out new techniques, but keep writing. If that first 10 to 15 minutes is “wasted” trying to come up with a topic, just write down whatever pops into your mind at least you will be writing and not staring at the paper or screen.
One thing I should clear up, for blogs and most other things I just write and walk away. Yes, this includes school work. Just the way my mind works. With blog posts I will and regularly do read old posts and make corrections, I know that I have written about this, for school work if I have enough time between when I wrote the piece and turn in deadline, approximately 2 to 3 days I will read over and make corrections, but most times I do not have that time.
Long term projects, such as Building Blocks, FU! Slow Cooker, and the research review paper get written as above. Shelved for a couple of days and then the lengthy edit and re-writing cycle begins.
While I doubt shoe sponges will ever read this, maybe someone else will and this will help them.