by Gene Griessman, Ph.D.
“Lamiele” asks the following request about writing preparation: “I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your mind prior to writing. I have had trouble clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out. I truly do enjoy writing; however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints?”
Here are four recommendations to help you when you want to write an essay, article, or blog. (Writing a book or a dissertation is an expansion of these basic steps.)
- One. Before you actually sit down to write, make a few brief notes about possible ideas to develop. Even if you are out and about, running errands or the like, you can send yourself an email or text from your smartphone, or give yourself a call and leave the idea on your voice mail. Don’t worry about grammar, etc. Just get your ideas down. Think of the ideas that come to you from reading, from conversations, and from just thinking as bullet points or paragraph headings that you will develop.
- Two. When you do sit down to write, just start writing. You can pick any one of the ideas you’ve jotted down or recorded. Again, don’t worry about how your words read or sound at this point. Just put words on paper. You may eventually throw away what you’ve written. What you are doing is getting your motor turning over.
- Three. If you can, write in the same place and at the same time every day. Forming a habit about time and place will send a signal to your brain that you are supposed to be writing. I’ve found that if I do this, sometimes as if by magic the words begin to come to me.
- Four. When you’ve completed a rough draft of one of your basic ideas (or modules), read it out loud. Reading it aloud with help you catch grammatical and logical errors, make your expression more natural, and help you smooth out jerky sections.
Finally, don’t be worried if it takes you 10 to 15 minutes to get started. Some great writers work on a single sentence for hours or days.
Gene Griessman is creator of the one-man play “The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln.” To learn more about booking Griessman for your next event, click here.