Writing for Writing – A Warm Up Exercise

This post is an example of a warm-up. Just a few hundred words to get my mind off of one project and onto another. This is probably a familiar exercise to most writers, a kind of clearing of the queue.


Most people know I’ve been writing a lot of code lately, which means I haven’t been writing as much… well, writing.

It happens.

Sometimes, when I’m thrown off track from my work, I get really upset. I’m angry at myself for doing something other than writing. I swear to the heavens that tomorrow will be different. And then it’s not. If anything, there’s even less writing than before.

This is usually the point where I start thinking about traveling. It begins with a few reminiscences concerning journeys past and then floats along till I begin planning out some trip or another (usually to an exotic place, by myself, and where the trek itself will be arduous). Sometimes I think about other writers and how they escaped their worlds and ran off to write.

These bits of fantasy are fun, but they’re not writing either. Eventually, that fact comes round to making itself known and I get a little more frustrated with myself.

I don’t have a miracle cure for these fits and starts other than sitting down and getting to the writing. If you’ve been off for awhile, the writing is going to be stiff and wooden. If you’ve been off for a long while, it make take some old fashioned typing just to get your mind wired up to your fingers in the first place.

In my case, I’ve had my hands on the keyboard non-stop so getting the words to go isn’t the problem. It’s the habit of wanting to slap a semi-colon at the end of every line that’s throwing me off:

[[Writer alloc] initWithSomeOtherWritingBrain:aBetterAuthor];

I’m pretty sure writing like this isn’t going to make anyone happy. 😉

This is the sort of problem every writer faces, especially when they’re working some other job (and nearly all do). You try to keep things moving forward on project A while work-project B keeps finding its way to the front of the queue. The only way out is forward, and even if you know it (as I do) it doesn’t make it any easier or any less frustrating.

Today though, I’m not feeling frustrated. I’m amused. I’m laughing at myself as my fingers fumble around for words that ought to be on the tip of my… [Tongue? Fingers? Perhaps I should skip this tired metaphor altogether.]

See what I mean?

This is a good thing, at least for me. Laughing at myself is the best way I know to keep from becoming too serious and drifting into the world of dismal metaphysics. That’s where I go when I’m not happy with the work. The tone gets darker and darker and the words get more jumbled up. Gobbledygook prevails.

So, I keep plugging away. Bit by bit the words get better. I stop piddling about, and words come together in ways that approximate sentences.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how one writes for writing.

8 thoughts on “Writing for Writing – A Warm Up Exercise

  1. I haven’t been writing the past few days due to sheer exhaustion. Bachelor parties do that (the guy was a Marine, so there was a partying pace to be met). I’ll be back to it today or tomorrow.

    I find that I can get writing if I do some reading. Either I read an author I want to emulate (not copy, but good prose coming in tends to facilitate good prose coming out) or read for a writing workshop so I can cringe at all the bad things they’re doing that I know I’m not doing (as often as I used to).

    Oso´s last blog post..Subraction by Addition

  2. Nathalie, thanks for the link to one word. I have to bookmark that one.

    It’s been all sorts of house organization projects pulling me away from the keyboard of late. I’m blogging and writing various stuff I’m sure will never see the light of day to try to get back in the swing of things, but all I really want is a nap. Dratted rainy weather! It always makes me sleepy.

    A. B. England´s last blog post..A Single Resolution for the Blog’s Second Year

  3. I’ve been working hard on the business for the last six months that the fiction has suffered significantly. The only way of making sure I write fiction is to schedule it, but if life insists on invading, it’s the fiction that’s the first to go. I’d like it to be the most important, but since it’s not paying the bills right now, it can’t have top priority.

    And yes, after taking time off, it costs a lot to get back into the writing groove.

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome´s last blog post..Creativity & Paying the Bills: Dave Rhodes Interview

  4. ROFL! Oh my gosh, I can totally relate! The semicolon at the end, yep, coupled with an urge to add < and ” where not needed. 🙂 I also found myself not breathing in my writing. Last night my post had no periods! Ha! I laughed too. Can’t stress about these things, you just work out the creaks and get to it. Welcome back, you are warming up quite nicely. 🙂

    Karen Swim´s last blog post..Breath of Life

  5. So it’s not just me slumping and slacking.

    @A.B.: the rainy weather is draining me, too. It’s been raining for three or four days and I feel crazy already. How do folks in the NW handle it for weeks at a time?

    Writing prompts are certainly a way to kick-start the noggin, and I usually have a handful of story starters I can grab and force myself to work on, even if it’s “just for fun.” I guess most writers work with a notepad to jot story ideas, but I record anything and everything (there’s an app for that!) on my phone. I do this mostly because I’m so absent-minded I’ll lose scraps of paper. Or the whole notebook. Later I can sit down and play back ideas and try to work out something. Sometimes they’re silly, but it gets the juices flowing.

    Example: while goofing with his grandpa, my son hollers (in perfect imitation of my dad’s southern drawl), “This tractor is a time machine!” As ridiculous as that sounds, I am actually having fun with that one as a storystarter. I would have forgotten all about it, had I not whipped out my phone and recorded the silly line (and yes, a real tractor was involved).

    Tracie W.´s last blog post..On Writing

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