Monday, March 5, 2012

A Writer Prepares

No writer sits and immediately begins to write. You may have heard of some that do, but I am here to reiterate that those stories are all lies.

Like any great athlete or dancer, you must prepare. Warm up the muscles, limber up the thoughts. Here are my 10 steps of preparation:

10. Open up your WIP and stare at the previous page. Staring is the key. Don't judge, don't edit; just stare. Remind yourself that you are looking at proof that you have written and today you will write again.

 Just not yet.

9. Play a few rounds of your favourite internet game - could be solitaire, could be Angry Birds, could be anything. I don't judge. This is not procrastinating. This is a gentle awakening of your writing muscles. See how you are manipulating the mouse? Strategizing your next move? Both vital parts of the pre-writing process.

8. Time for a beverage of your choice. Keeping hydrated is important. Ask any gold medalist.

7. Look to your left (or right) for the notes you made last night. You know, those reminders of the insights (one could label them at practically the genius level - but one is modest, so refrains from aforesaid labeling) into your plot. No notes?

6. Time for another (I would suggest different) beverage and a new curse word. This may take time, but again, time well-spent. Self-loathing is another vital step in anyone's writing process. (If it isn't, this isn't the time to tell me.)

5. Get up and do a few stretches. It's time.

4. Since you're up, check the refrigerator for a healthy snack. Nothing there? Open the door and check again. Why do we all do this? Do we expect food to magically appear?

3. Ponder this quirk of human behaviour. Again - not procrastinating. You are pondering human nature which is a very literary thing to do.

2. Another very literary thing to do is to eat cookies. Be literary.

1. Now you should actually write. Not ready? Not prepared? Absolutely nothing wrong with going through this list as many times as necessary. Remember, improper preparation leads to cramps. Nasty.


  1. Elspeth - What great pieces of advice to help writers prepare for the day. I bow to your wisdom and that of the sheep ;-). Oh, but if I may suggest, there's one important activity that simply must be completed during one's writing preparation: Go around to all of your favourite blogs. Read them. Ponder them. This is not procrastinating. This is opening your mind to new ideas, and writers need to do that. Right?

    1. Oh Margot, you're so wise. And the sheep wish to convey their thanks for the mention.

  2. Oh, this must mean I'm a proper writer :-)

  3. I think I have to go through this list several times today! :)


Please leave a comment as I love to hear from you!