It’s hard enough to find time to write. Then, when you finally do, you face the paralysis of the blank page/blinking cursor.
The most useful tool I have discovered for getting past that frozen moment of potential is to do some warm-up writing.
Morning Pages And The Truth Point
I first discovered this technique in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way in the form of her morning pages.
Cameron advises you to sit down first thing every morning and write three pages’ worth of nothing in particular, just to see what come out. She lets you get several weeks into the program before asking,
Have you discovered the Truth Point yet?
And I had.
I discovered that somewhere on the second page (if I was writing longhand), my writing went from being awkward to flowing. Try it. After a page or two, you’ll find something to write about or you might just find your descriptions getting more interesting, your turn of phrase more entertaining and natural.
After writing ‘nothing’ for three pages, you’ll be able to plunge into an actual writing project and be at your best on the first line.
Flash forward a decade or two, and the website 750words.com offers an online version of Morning Pages, complete with somewhere to do your writing in case you don’t want to write on your blog or in a notebook that someone might find.
The host of 750words.com credits Cameron with inspiring the site, and says that 750 words is the ‘truth point’ for many people.
I have writing friends who blog first thing in the morning just as a way of warming up. Other people write letters to friends.
Tips For Warm-Up Writing
The only thing I would add is that, like 750words.com, you should be free to protect your warm-up writing. It’s not meant for display. It’s meant as warm-up. If you’re happy posting your warm-up writing to a blog or posting it off toa friend, great. But protect yourself as much as you need to.
And no sneaking off and reading Twitter or Facebook, or your favourite author, now!