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November 6th, 2013 - 9:34 am § in How I Work

I Warm Up My Writing Before I Write

I Need To Warm Up

If I have any kind of writing to do, and I do a lot more than I think I do, I found i need to warm up by just sitting down and doing a brain-dump or a cleanse or a stream-of-consciousness. I know I’m not going to use it at all, so I can just write and write. i use evernote to store it away for later deletion or use for interesting tidbits. I use it to vent sometimes, too.

I write marketing pieces, strategy documents, etc. for my work. But also blog posts on other topics that are interesting to me, like scientific topics, robotics, mathematics, as well as creative pieces on short stories and fiction.

It Helps My Work In Process

When I’ve gone through a ten-minute warmup or when I feel i’m ready to start my real work, I can jump to the my work-in-process and start running. I don’t feel like I waste time writing drivel and wandering all over before getting to my story. It’s like prepping before a trip: you make sure the bags are packed and the car is gassed up and the oil is good, so you don’t need to run around the house or apartment making sure things are settled.

It Works For Me

So far, I’ve been more organized and focused in my wip, which is important for my deadlines of course but also lowers my anxiety and stress. I know others have said that they jump into their wip without ceremony or prep because there might be a nugget of goodness there that would be missed if they prepped ‘offline’ first. I guess so, but I feel that if there was something there, it would still be there after the prep, right?

I’ve Tried Other Things

I’ve tried other ways of working, listening to certain types of music until I was inspired, or doing something to create a habit driven method – I guess the idea there is to trick yourself into becoming ready through habits formed.

What Doesn’t Work

The tricks don’t work for me. I think it’s like an athlete (me? lol, right) that needs to warm up their muscles before exercising. Here’s a few hurdles that cause friction in my process:

  • Once the fmaily is up and running around the house, I can’t do much of anything that involves concentration; it’s the nature of that beast.
  • In the afternoon when i’m expected to be on calls. When I’m tramping around for freelance work, I find the afternoon as the best time to schedule calls and to make calls. It seems other people have less issues that compete for their time against the time I spend with them.
  • When I’m working, naturally, I can’t work on personal things.
  • There are times, when I’m thoroughly exhausted, when I refuse to work on work things while at home on my time. Other times, there are times when my work gets in the way of my…work in process.

It Works

I don’t have any scientific reasons why warming up works, but I can say that it works for now and it’s the best method I know so far. Also, this ‘friend’ comes with benefits of course.

  • I can clear my mind of the ‘todos’ and ‘must be dones’
  • It refreshes me, not like a popular brand of soap, but it does, in a different way
  • It’s its own reward. I get word on paper, working my skills. It just does.
  • Sometimes it’s fun to see where it goes. These writing pieces/efforts lead to some unexpected places, and I would not share those with anyone, but they may end up in a piece I put out there at some point. No promises.
  • Solve problems that are bugging me. I know that that is like the first point, but sometimes, just listing something doesn’t make it go away. It needs to be wrestled back into its likely place – a very small box with a lock on the door – on the outside.

Is This Overkill?

The only real concern is that the ten minutes minimum that I write to clear my head and warm up adds up to about 5 hours a month, or 60 hours a year; that’s about a week of work that I mostly throw away, and that sounds inefficient, but I don’t have anything better.


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