Friday, January 23, 2009

Use Your Journal to Warm Up for Writing

For many writers, just getting started is a challenge. That's usually because they're  expecting the words to flow out  in perfect order. Or  worse, they're waiting to "be inspired." Ha.

You wouldn't jump into physical exercise without warming up. Why expect your brain to be any more prepared to perform well on demand than your muscles?

Honor yourself and your muse with respect for the craft. Here's some tips to get you in the writing flow:

 1. Buy a journal that appeals to your senses. Not just a notebook or tablet. Use a hardcover, bound book. Your thoughts are important and deserve to be recorded in a volume worthy of your words. Spiral-bound notebooks or pads don't suggest permanence or quality.

2. Purchase a pen that you use only to write in this journal. Consider the color of the ink, the thickness/thinness of the writing tip and how it feels in your hand. Write at least one page every day at the same time. Experiment until you find the time of day that feels best to you. You can write more, if you feel it; but do not write less than one page per day.

3. If the page per day doesn't feel right to you, buy a timer. Start with 5 minutes per day. Gradually increase to 15 minutes or more. Write without editing or rereading.

4. Good sources of prompts:

Journalution: Journaling to Awaken Your Inner Voice, Heal Your Life and Manifest Your Dreams by Sandy Grason 

The Pocket Muse: Ideas & Inspirations for Writing by Monica Wood

5. Select a spot or area for your writing time. Make it comfortable. Make sure you have good light. Decorate the area with "comfort" items: flowers, pretty knickknacks, photos, etc. Play music softly if it doesn't disturb you. Light a scented a candle; burn incense. Once you establish a ritual, do it the same way each day.

Once you establish this pattern for writing in your journal, try a similar pattern for sitting at the computer if that's your chosen method for writing. It will be easier to establish a set writing time and pattern for your creative work once you make journaling a habit. You'll also find that journaling unleashes a flow of material and sparks your imagination in ways you never thought possible.

Portions of this article are reprinted from 4Ps to Publishing Success: Get Your Manuscript Off Your Desk & Into Print by Shelley Lieber.  If you liked today's article, you'll LOVE the book! A complete step-by-step guide to getting published. Find out if you need 4Ps to Publishing Success>>> 

 Photo ©Gemignani. See more photos by Joe Gemignani.

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