Like highly-trained athletes, writers need to warm up before they begin the day’s work. My general warmup exercise routine consists of the following:
1. Begin with espresso and the TLS – It’s important to have rituals and for me a solid three-shot ‘spro and a some fine literary commentary from the Times is as good as it gets.
2. Scribbling in my notebook – This includes abstract shapes, landscapes, figure drawing, but also bits of poetry and other ideas jotted down in rapid sequence.
3. 20 minutes of Journaling – In 20 minutes, I’m able to cover what’s going on in my mind at the moment, what I face for the day, how I’m progressing (or not) toward my writing goals. If all is well, I even slip into a bit of what I’m working on at the moment.
I probably spend close to an hour getting ready to roll. After I do that, I’m usually ready to get with the real writing.
Lately, I’ve been using Twitter to supplement my writing “workouts”. For me, Twitter is primarily an opportunity to socialize with a broad group of people who are interested in writing. By interacting with these great writers in 140 character bursts, I get to sharpen my foil against some of the best wits in the online writing business. I read their posts and comment on their sites. I’ve have learned a great deal and I greatly value the relationships I’m building over time.
As a result, Twitter has affected my writing in two positive ways:
1. I stay in the writing zone longer – My guru barista always suggests taking green tea after drinking espresso. He says it helps keep the caffeine buzz rolling along through the day and I quite agree. In many ways, this is what Twitter does for me when I’m going through the daily habits of a writer with a day job. By checking in periodically, I find that I keep myself in the writing flow and that means I can jump right back into my writing when those miraculous gaps appear in my day.
2. I’ve written fewer negative entries in my journal – Because I’m talking about my life in Twitter (and trying to be entertaining about it) I find that I am spending far less time having pity parties in 1,000 words or more. I think this is a very positive improvement and I welcome the change at all levels.
Twitter may not be pushups or plyometrics, but I do find that it’s a great way to begin the new writing day. If you decide to give it a try, look me up @hownottwrite!
Are you using Twitter to warm up or does Twitter just get in the way?