Writing Warm-Ups: How to Turn on Your “Writing Mind”
Have you ever had so many big writing projects in front of you that you just couldn’t seem to get started?
Having too many writing projects often causes indecision. (“Where do I start?”)
And big writing projects are sometimes overwhelming. (“How am I going to get this done?”)
Put the two together and it’s a recipe for procrastination and emotional overload.
With that in mind, here are a few ideas for firing up your “writing mind” — and overcoming that sense of confusion and dread.
Decide What’s First
First: Write down all the things you need to write. Decide which one you will tackle first — the one that is most urgent and important — the one that is causing you the most anxiety.
Then, set it aside.
Now comes the fun part…
You’ve just made a decision. You’ve given yourself a command that you will do this one thing that needs to be done.
Your subconscious mind is now thinking about how it’s going to start your “big important writing project.”
But before you actually start that project, you want to warm up your “writing muscles.” And the best way to do this is to write something that is easy, effortless, and fun.
For me, that means one of three things:
Writing Warm-Up #1. Write a blog post
I like writing blog posts — whether they are published on this blog or on other blogs I own and operate. It’s just fun.
There’s never any pressure. I don’t have to be a genius. I just write.
And that’s the point. Writing blog posts helps me fire up my “writing mind”… so that I’m thinking in words and ideas and how to craft arguments.
Writing Warm-Up #2. Answer interview questions
Another form of writing I find especially easy and fun is answering interview questions.
Lately, I’ve done quite a few written interviews. I receive the questions by email, type my answers, then send them back.
Questions naturally trigger the mind to think of answers. I write the answers. And next thing you know I’m writing at full speed.
Writing Warm-Up #3. Speak your copy
Sometimes I have my best ideas while I’m talking to another person. That’s because I think while I speak. (I know, I’m supposed to think before I speak… but my mind doesn’t always work that way.)
Anyway, I recently bought Dragon Dictate based on a recommendation. Here’s what I’ve found…
Speaking copy is sometimes a great way to get the words flowing. I just sit down at my computer, look out the window, and start “writing” by speaking.
Writing an entire sales letter or piece of copy would be difficult with Dragon Dictate (because you have to speak the punctuation and formatting) — but I’ve found it very useful for just getting things started.
And Now You’re Ready to Write!
After you’ve warmed-up using one of the techniques above, it’s time to come back to that writing project you committed to doing.
Except now you’re in “writing mode,” which makes it a heck of a lot easier to start.
And… your subconscious mind has been working in the background, too. So your brain is ready — possibly even eager — to tackle that big writing project that had you tied up in indecision and inaction.
So there you have it: Three writing warm-ups that turn on your “writing mind.” I hope you find them useful next time you’re struggling to start a writing project.
-Ryan M. Healy