Two things every writer needs are motivation and concentration. But how do you silence the jabbering voices in your head and get mentally prepared to write--especially when you're not in the mood?
Author Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip, has likened the process to a night watchman's job:
People often ask how I get into the writing frame of mind. To me, it feels like being the night watchman in a museum. My job is to make sure all the doors are locked, and the blinds are pulled, and the lights are out.As discussed in the List Trick, one way to warm up to writing is to start out jotting rather than composing. Listing a few random observations may be all that's needed to eliminate distractions, spark some fresh ideas, and create an immediate incentive to write.
As a writer, you need to shut out all of the distractions from your other senses. I make sure I'm not hungry, tired, uncomfortable, or listening to anything. Then, like the night watchman, I go room by room with my flashlight until something scares me, surprises me, or makes me laugh. I have to feel something. And when I do, that's the part I keep. Then I wrap up the inspiring words in ordinary words, to form sentences. That part is more craft than art.
(Scott Adams, "Like a Night Watchman." The Scott Adams Blog, January 25, 2010)
Now it's your turn. Have you developed any useful tricks, strategies, or routines for getting into a writing frame of mind? If so, tell us about them by clicking on "comments" below
More About Getting Started:
- "Look at Your Fish!" by Samuel H. Scudder
- Writers on Writing: The Myth of Inspiration
- Fifty Quick Writing Prompts
- Where Do Writers Find Their Ideas?
Image: Dilbert and Dogbert. Dilbert, by Scott Adams ©2013, United Feature Syndicate, Inc.