Oh dear. Looks like I spent a sizeable chunk of time responding to a machine, which didn’t really care about the process of writing at all. It just wanted me to click a link and buy some ‘stuff’. Well, wham, bam, thank you spam, but the joke’s on you. I’ll turn your realistically kosher query into a chance to help a REAL person who may (or may not) need some help.
It was only after I’d written my reply that some speck of doubt made me Google the comment on my blog. Turns out this is a fairly common spam comment on blogs everywhere. Instead of deleting the correspondence, I decided to post it instead. Take that, spambot! In your non-existent face/portal.
Anyway, watch out for this shit. My answer may be of some help…
SPAMBOT: First off I want to say great blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your head before writing. I’ve had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out there. I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Appreciate it!
UNSUSPECTING BLOGGER (ME): Thanks so much for the feedback. It means a lot to know people are enjoying rooting around here!
Okay, as of this moment I’ve clocked up around 130,000 words just on my Mrs God work. I’m two chapters into the sequel and I think I’ve cracked the issue of getting into the writing groove. I had this problem too on the first novel and the issue was too many variables in the physical process of writing.
For instance, I had no set time to actually write; I had no set period of time in which to write; I had no specific place to do it, either. Once my story had built up its own head of steam and I was basically clinging on by my fingernails as its own momentum drove it along, I reduced those variables. I set aside three full mornings of the week and took myself off to a seaside hotel where I would sit in the same spot, write for the same length of time each day… and drink the same vast quantity of coffee!
This allowed me to waste no time whatsoever when it came to opening up my laptop and start tapping away. In the end my brain was bursting to start writing – like a dog on a leash.
If you find yourself writing unuseable text in the first 15 minutes, don’t beat yourself up about it. Maybe this is your way of getting up to top gear. I recently heard Richard Curtis say he writes about 25 pages a day and considers it a good day if he uses a quarter of one page!
If, after 10 to 15 minutes, you are then producing stuff that you’re happy with, then I say go with it. This is how you write.
On the other hand, if you want to trim that time down I would suggest identifying your own variables and make writing your book as routine filled as going to work.
One other tip – try to focus on small portions of what you want to write (a scene, a speech, action) and think about it BEFORE you write. Get your subconscious to do some imaginative heavy lifting and by the time you sit down to write the scene you’ll have a better handle on it and all your time can be devoted to productive writing.
Hope this helps!