Clearing your mind of day-to-day activities before settling to write will help you get into the writing zone.
Clearing The Mind
In order to get into the zone for writing, it is useful to clear our minds of ‘head-chatter’. This is mind activity made up of the remnants of whatever day to day activities we’ve been involved in prior to moving into our writing time.
Thoughts continually come and go, and vie for top position in our minds. Attached to these thoughts are emotions, which distract us from our task unless we still them. Willing them away is often not enough to dislodge them, so we need to clear them out – at least for the duration of our writing session.
There are various mind-clearing techniques, but for now the following simple exercise will give you a starting point to work with until my next post.
- Sit quietly and consider your day so far. What have you been doing? Has it been a pleasant morning/day? Have you had issues to deal with? Have you been feeling overloaded? Have you been relaxing?
- Move backwards to yesterday and ask yourself similar questions and any others that come to mind. Now, the day before yesterday, the last week… and so on, until you start to pass from what is close to the surface of your mind to what you have to dredge up. (At this point you’re going into memories and not thoughts or images currently bouncing around your mind.)
- Write a list of as many of the thoughts, feelings, images, conversations and issues that rush from you in light of your most recent experiences.
- When you think the list is exhaustive, close your eyes and allow more thoughts or feelings to surface. Add these to your list.
- Repeat this last step until your mind is clear of current/recent events. These have now been set aside for another time or have lost their immediate importance.
- At this point you’re ready to move into your writing zone. Connect with your computer or notebook and delve into your writing session.
This exercise is similar to one I use when I can’t sleep at night because all the tasks I have for the following day invade my mind and push to be remembered. In this case, I write a list of everything I can think of that needs to be done. Then I prioritise them and put the list where I’ll see it in the morning.
This process takes the thoughts/worry about the tasks out of my brain and onto the paper. It also underlines the fact that I can’t do anything more towards them until morning – thus freeing me to sleep.
Reinforce Your Writing Goals
Setting goals is not enough to make our dreams come true. Setting realistic goals is not even enough to make them come to fruition. There are additional steps to take if we want to achieve success.
Setting SMART and realistic goals, and writing a commitment to yourself to achieve them are covered in my earlier Blogs ~ Prepare To Set Writing Goals That Can Succeed, Construct Writing Goals That Can Succeed and Turn The Opportunity To Succeed Into Success.
What else can you do? Find ways to reinforce your commitment. One such way is to make a collage. The energy you give to this task, and therefore your writing goals, will multiply the possibility of creating the desired outcome.
Clarify and list your writing goals for 2019.
- Write about a page that summarises the outcomes you want to achieve. This may be prose or poetry – whatever comes at the time. Just let your creative juices flow…
- Identify key words, phrases, pictures/photographs, objects, or anything else that will symbolise the essence of each of your goals.
- Gather these items – take your time with this part of the exercise and make sure you have the most meaningful representation for each goal. For example, a goal might be ‘freedom to write’ – which could have many different meanings, depending on the circumstances. While one person may choose a deserted bush scene to indicate ‘freedom’, another may select a photograph of themselves flying a glider… because they remember the sensation that they were souring on the back of a huge bird with no sound other than the hiss of the wind… and someone else, may simply find a feather for their project.
- Check that your items are specific and personal. Replace them if necessary.
- Arrange your items on a sheet of cardboard – or two, or three, or four. I once made a huge collage to represent life goals, using four sheets of coloured cardboard taped together, and it continues to bring rewards twenty years later!
- Take a break, then come back to your collage with fresh eyes. Do this for as short or as long as feels comfortable – but don’t take so long that you give up!
- Secure your treasures to the cardboard.
- Hang your masterpiece where your eyes will naturally rest on it several times each day – to reinforce the power of manifestation.
- Trust the universe to bring you the opportunities to meet your goals.
- Take action… and enjoy a successful writing year!
This Writing Exercise relates to my Blog ~ Reinforcing Your Writing Goals.
Interviews can be formal or informal, and the level of intensity of questions asked ideally reflect the circumstances of the interview.
This is a practical exercise that you can utilise over and again in your writing research.
Write down a topic you need to research for a writing project – now or in the future.
Make a list of possible people to interview.
Choose one person from your list and learn as much as you can about them in relation to your chosen topic.
Brainstorm a list of possible questions to ask this person about your topic.
Cull this list to focus on the most appropriate questions, given the interviewee’s background.
Check each question to identify whether it is an Open Question or a Closed Question.
Re-write any Closed Questions, which would be more productive as Open Questions.
Arrange the questions in order, ready for your interview.
Familiarise yourself with the process you plan to follow, to give the interview every chance of running smoothly.
Enjoy the interview, be flexible, and be open to surprises…
Read books that will inspire you to write books.
Questions and Writing
Questions are used throughout the writing process… from decision-making about what we’ll write, through the research and planning stages, the writing, and on to the marketing and promotional stages.
Make a list of all the ways you use questions in your writing life. Begin by brainstorming, then add to your list as new examples come to mind.
Reshape your list by rearranging items into positions that feel right to you.
Take some time to ponder the list, and the significance of questions to your work.
Write a piece that highlights the usefulness of questions in relation to your writing.
Ask yourself how many questions you asked during this exercise. You may be surprised!
This Writing Exercise relates to my Blog ~ Pondering Questions
First Day At School
Our first day at school is one of the turning points in our lives. This is when we step from full-time parental protection into the world of shared protection from other adults.
These people play a role in shaping the foundations of who we become, and the students who share our first-day experience have the potential to be life-long friends, again influencing our future.
The school our parents choose for us, usually reflects the family background – financial status, belief systems, and so on. The chosen school also makes an impact on where our first step on the long road to independence will take us.
Brainstorm at random, the things you remember about your first day at school.
Ask yourself questions to help you find more memories to add to your list. Questions like: What school did I attend? Where was it? What did I wear? What do I remember about getting ready? How did I feel? Was I upset or happy to be there? What happened in the first hour? What did I do at lunch-time and play-time? What was my first impression of the playground? How would I describe the room and where I sat? What sounds, odours, colours and textures do I remember? What was the teacher like? What do I remember about the other children? How did I get to and from school?
Write a piece of three hundred words or more, that gives the reader an insight into your first day at school, your experience, and the important things that have stayed with you from that day.
If you don’t remember your first day at school, substitute the first day of preschool, high school, university, first job… and change the questions to appropriate ones for the circumstances you are exploring.
A New Approach To Childhood Stories
This is a fun exercise that challenges you to re-think stories and ideas that have been dear to you since childhood. With the benefit of life experiences and shifting perspectives, you may be surprised at the tales you create!
Follow the steps below and see where they take you…
> Make a list of your favourite fairy tales and stories from childhood.
> Choose one of these narratives and re-write it with a different ending.
> If you have difficulty changing a beloved tale, try the exercise with a childhood story that left you unsatisfied. This is your chance to turn it into a favourite!
> Make any necessary adjustments to your new storyline and do a first edit.
Enjoy the journey!