Scenario 1 :
You have the ideas all worked out in your head. You even have an outline. You think you know where you were going.
You sit down to write. You manage to start but find the going tough. You give up minutes later. You try again for the next few days. It’s painful. You simply don’t have the energy to continue. You throw in the towel.
You’ve completed a piece a writing. It was an unpleasant strenuous experience, to say the least. You would like to write but secretly wish you don’t have to. The mental pain it had caused you is simply too much to bear.
No, you don’t think you’re facing writer’s block. You simply don’t have the energy to continue. You admit you lack the stamina to write.
The problem here is your writing machinery isn’t well-oiled. It’s rusty from lack of writing practice.
The first thing you should do to set things right is to set aside your writing project (if you can afford to). Admit that you’re not well trained for the big game. You’ve got to build your fitness to last longer in the act of putting down words on the page.
You need workouts, stretching and limbering mental exercises, to first loosen and then strengthen your writing muscles.
Once you’ve enough workouts, you’ll be better prepared to take on the writing task.
Treat the fitness regimen as a sportsman or athlete would as he or she prepares for the big game or event.
Here are two simple workouts that will help you keep you in top shape for writing.
Zero Inertia Writing
This is essential a ‘writing’ muscle-loosening exercise. I call it zero inertia writing is because when doing this workout, you’ll allow no inertia to creep in when you start to write.
You’ll write for the sake of putting down words, any words, on the page. You’ve put down words on paper before and you’re going to do it again. Only this time you aren’t going to be worried what words will be landing there. Any word would do. Even if it doesn’t make sense.
You goal is not produce what is called real writing.
For instance, you can start writing about what you’re feeling at the moment.
I feel like putting away my pen and not writing anything at all. But yet I know if I do that, I’ll feel guilty for not writing. I feel like writing but I don’t feel like diving into it…
Write on along this vein as long as possible. When you feel you’ve nothing more to say, jump into another topic.
If you’ve nothing more to say, imagine a friend asking, “What did you do last evening?”
I was at the cinema last evening to watch an art movie. While waiting for the show to begin, a man walked up to me and struck up a conversation. He asked me what I did for a living. When I said I was a writer, he lost his temper and said I shouldn’t be at the cinema and should be back home writing….
You’re free to make up things as you go. Think like a child. Everything a child does makes sense to him. There’s no nonsense for a child. He or she simply enjoys what she’s doing without a single thought attached to it. Be a child when it comes to writing and writing will be like play to you. What are you worried about? After all, it’s play time.
Continue writing. Switch to a Q & A mode for the fun of it. Q&A on anything you like.
Q: Who is the best writer in the world?
A: Anyone who keeps coming back to the page no matter what is the best writer in the world.
Q: Is there such a thing as writer’s block?
A: No, it’s another name for ingratitude. You have all it takes to write and yet you complain you can’t get started. Isn’t that ingratitude….
Round it up with a screenplay snippet:
Jane walks into the room and throws her file on the table. John looks at her in surprise and tosses her a chocolate bar. She pushes it away.
What’s the matter?
I’m not happy.
Really? I’m not surprised.
Yes. All unhappy people are ungrateful people.
Write anything you feel like writing. Feel like writing a poem? Go ahead and write a poem that doesn’t make any sense. Write anything you usually don’t feel like writing when you face the page. The page is your playground when you’re in zero inertia writing mode. Your aim is to make writing as effortless as window shopping. In Zero Inertia Planet words spill out like water out of a faucet. They never stop flowing.
Go Into Stroll Mode
Imagine you’re going for a stroll. Nothing has to come out of it. You just have to put one step after another and keep at it. Walk anywhere you like. Walk as fast or as slow as you like. Walk for the fun of it. Just like a kid who runs around for the fun of it without knowing that he’s building muscles and strength in the process.
Follow where the words take you. You don’t control the words. Let all the words you have been suppressing come to the fore.
Just write the first word or sentence that comes to mind and see where that leads you.
If you start doubting what you’re writing, tell yourself that nobody is going to read what you’ve done. You’ve finished playing and that’s it.
You may want to trash what you’ve written if you feel guilty about how badly you’ve written.
My advise is don’t. Stash it away somewhere and forget about it. Believe me, no matter how ridiculous a piece you think you’ve produced, there will be some hidden gems that warrant polishing some time in the future.
Don’t resort to Zero Inertia writing when your writing is going well. Treat it as a daily routine. Kick start your writing day with it and preferably indulge in it once more before going to bed. Even a few paragraphs will do.
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