I don’t know about you, but I hate staring at a blank computer screen. Or a blank piece of paper. To me, it’s like a creative mind vortex, making my great ideas pour out my ears into a black hole.
Last week I was writing and I got stuck. I knew what I wanted to say, but I couldn’t figure out how to say it. Nothing was coming out. Why? Because I was self-editing. Nothing was perfect enough. I needed *that* word, that special, glittering word that made my paragraph shine. Don’t get me wrong, editing is a necessary art (and science), but if you don’t have any words on the page, what are you going to edit?
I took a break from staring at my computer screen and wandered around the house to try and clear my head. I thought about a “Writer’s Craft” class I took in high school. It’s funny how you sometimes forget the helpful lessons you learned long ago, isn’t it? But when I thought about the writing exercise our teacher made us do every day, I realized I had to start making an effort to do it every day. I knew that I would be able to overcome my Writer’s Block, and I would train my brain to stop editing while I was working on my first draft.
So here’s the exercise, in case you want to give it a go.
- Start with a writing prompt. There are lots of writing prompts online to get you started. Writers Write have daily writing prompts that are worth checking out. You could also take the last sentence, or sentence fragment you are working on.
- Set a timer for ten minutes.
- Don’t stop until the timer goes off. Even if you don’t know what to write, write “I don’t know what to write”. Just keep writing.
The key is to write continuously.
Some people might think of this process as a stream of consciousness, and while that may be true, I think writing continuously trains the brain to think while you write. Will you still have to edit? Heck, yes. But hopefully your creative brain will be flowing while you write and your thinky brain will be doing some push-ups getting ready for its time to shine as the red-pen-wielding-take-no-prisoners editor.
To get you started, I’ll give you a prompt.
A man sits in a diner. A waitress approaches to take his order. “What will it be, stranger?” she asks him.
Annnnnd, go! Set the timer for 10 minutes and let ‘er rip!
Let me know how you did. Did it help? I’d love to hear your feedback.
Here’s to your writing success!
Christina Esdon is a hopeless romantic and dreamer extraordinaire. She loves to see the world through rose-colored glasses (literally) and has the uncanny ability to find humor and joy in the small things in life. When not writing, she can be found frolicking along the shores of Lake Huron, taking notoriously long bubble baths or contemplating the next renovation to her home in Ontario, Canada. Work in Progress is Christina’s debut novel.
You can find Christina at:
Psychologist Reese Morgan is a feisty workaholic who has devoted her life to helping seriously ill children.
But work is just one of the many walls she has put up to protect herself from the legacies of childhood trauma and heart-wrenching grief. When the family support program she has struggled to build at the local hospital is threatened, Reese must confront her past and embrace her future.
Sparks fly when she comes face to face with a handsome visionary: the contractor who is set to demolish the children’s wing.
Can Reese tear down the walls around her heart to let love in?