Stretch before you exercise your pen

Do you ever sit at your desk or table gazing outside, hoping that the words will flow and you can move on with your chapter? I know I do sometimes. However disciplined I am, however motivated to complete a project and meet a deadline there will often be times when I find my attention wandering. We were talking about it in our writing group meeting yesterday in fact. One member (you know who you are!) said “Surely that’s part of the writing process?”

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Yes of course it can be, but is it always so? Just as we stretch before we exercise in order to warn our muscles to prepare for exercise and get them warmed up and ready for action, so too should we do the same for our writing arm and our creative brain.

I studied in Creative Writing with the Open University and one of the ‘stretching exercises’ we did, and there were many so sign up as a Blog Follower and make sure you get them, was this one.

Step 1. Write the letters A – Z down the left hand side of a piece of A4 paper.

Step 2. Alongside each one write your favourite word that starts with that letter. There may be several favourites so for the purpose of this exercise just write one of them down, the first one that comes to mind perhaps. After all, you’ll have other opportunities to use other favourite words. Some letters may have you temporarily stumped so just leave them. This isn’t a test.

Step 3. Now make up a story using all those lovely words. See how many you can use in the shortest possible story. Give yourself a deadline. A good deadline could be to say to yourself “I’m going to write my story in the next hour and then have a coffee and get on with my novel.”

By allowing your creative brain to wander off and yet give it a project to do, we offer it a warm- up before the real exercise of the day which is the writing we are working on.

Let me know how it goes. Maybe it’ll be the start of a new novel!

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