Do you "warm up" before writing?

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xouba
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Do you "warm up" before writing?

Post by xouba » April 29th, 2011, 6:17 pm

I'm usually never in the mood for writing. But sometimes, I can "warm up" by posting on forums (like this), replying email or commenting on my friends' Facebook posts. After that, I feel the long gone pang of an idea, the urge to write something meaningful.

Am I the only one? Do you consciously "warm up" before starting serious writing?

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Do you "warm up" before writing?

Post by Louise Curtis » April 29th, 2011, 7:32 pm

SO yes. . . I laughed right away when I saw the title, because of course that's what I'm doing right now. . . and every morning.

I follow about twenty blogs and two forums daily. It's great for tricking myself into getting into my **** chair and facing the **** screen. Doesn't always work, of course! But I do tend to learn things along the way.

I also frequently edit by lying down daydreaming. Most of the time I'll find myself thinking, "Ah, the book's rubbish. Now if only I'd killed off the father instead of just sending him to prison - then the book wouldn't suck nearly as much!"

Then I'll sit up, move to the computer, and make that change.

Works almost every time. The rest of the time, I fall asleep :P
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Re: Do you "warm up" before writing?

Post by Jenemb » April 30th, 2011, 10:19 pm

The problem with warming up by checking out everyone's awesome blogs is that suddenly it's three hours later, and you still haven't written anything. Or maybe that's just me...

I warm up by making a drink, finding the right playlist, and telling myself that there is nothing else I would rather be doing.

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Re: Do you "warm up" before writing?

Post by Heather B » May 1st, 2011, 6:40 am

If I'm not in the mood, I'll warm up by reading previous chapters to get that character's 'voice' in my head...
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Re: Do you "warm up" before writing?

Post by Sommer Leigh » May 2nd, 2011, 8:57 am

If I'm not in the mood I'll pick up a book in or around my genre and read for a little while. That usually works.
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Re: Do you "warm up" before writing?

Post by TheZies » May 2nd, 2011, 1:09 pm

I depends on what part of the process I'm in.

If I'm in the creative process, then I don't really care how well it is writen. I feel I am a good writer, and I can make it pretty later. During the beginning stages, it's more important to get the story going.

Once I've got a basic story/plot, I write when motivated. If I'm not motivated to write anything, then I look back at the story and make sense of what is going on. That generally gets me going.

if I'm in the editing part, then I just diving into the editing. By this point, bad sentences and bad quotes are enough to spark me to write.

But generally, all three of these stages kinda clump together. So, to answer your question, I have no idea.
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Re: Do you "warm up" before writing?

Post by sierramcconnell » May 2nd, 2011, 5:01 pm

Warming up for me is usually blathering on about my characters until I'm itching to write. If I don't get the itch, I just don't write. Of course, the best time to write used to be in bed before work. Now that I'm moved, I don't have a chair. So I need to rethink my writing strategy...

I also like to do photostories, reread the last bit I wrote, or "pretend play" a scene with the characters in my head. It's always fun to do dishes\laundry\cook with an angelic swordsman\demon lord\psychotic nephilim child. :D
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Re: Do you "warm up" before writing?

Post by trixie » May 4th, 2011, 12:41 pm

When I finally have a long block of time just for writing, I usually start by flipping to a blank page in my journal and making a quasi-outline/bullet point sheet of what the next section needs to cover. Soon, those ideas branch into paragraphs and before I know it, I'm jumping feet first into writing my next section.

So to answer the question, I guess I have to start at a "big picture" level and work my way down to the point where I can start writing.

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Re: Do you "warm up" before writing?

Post by wilderness » May 7th, 2011, 5:20 pm

I'm with you xouba. I do need to warm up (I actually call it "gearing up") -- and reading publishing blogs is one of the things I do. To avoid wasting three hours, however, I usually give myself a time limit of how long I can spend. The time limit varies. Nathan recently blogged that he writes in bursts. I do the same. When I haven't written in a week or two, I need a longer amount of time to gear up so I might give myself an hour or two. If I'm in a week where I've done a lot of writing, I cap the blog time to 30 minutes.

I think gearing up is important to me for several reasons:
1. Obviously, to stay up with industry news
2. Misery loves company and I like knowing there are other struggling writers out there
3. Inspiration from reading the success stories and hoping I will one day join the ranks on the other side of the published divide
4. My favorite warm up: critiquing queries. I know most writers hate these, but to me they are this perfect little short art form, kind of like a haiku. Much easier than tackling a mammoth novel (sacrilege, I know!). I do think I have a knack for them, so it feels good to help others (if only in my mind).

Love reading about other peoples processes and/or writing "vices". I feel like I'm only just getting into the groove of writing steadily with a day job, so I'm still learning what works for me and what doesn't.

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Re: Do you "warm up" before writing?

Post by JohnDurvin » May 10th, 2011, 10:24 pm

I usually warm up by doing a bit of brainstorming, usually with some irrelevant creativity prompt like "name the suits for a deck of cards in a fantasy novel" or "name ten fictional cocktails the alcoholic historian baffles the bartender with." I've developed dystopian breakfast cereals, lines of action figures, a catalog of garbage used by a found-object artist, and a vague, intricate version of chess played by the aristocracy of Hell. Once I've worked through a few of these, I'm in the creative mood and can write with abandon until one of my cats decides he has to sit in my lap RIGHT NOW. (This usually distracts me for a few minutes--I use a laptop, so not really compatible with cats--and when they finally decide they're done, I sometimes have to go through another exercise to get back into the swing.)
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Re: Do you "warm up" before writing?

Post by Nigel Haberdash » May 11th, 2011, 2:35 pm

I do not warm up. I think of my whole first draft as a warm up. And the forums and blogging don't really feel much like a warm up either.

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Re: Do you "warm up" before writing?

Post by jazzlovesnoodles » May 20th, 2011, 8:59 am

Yes. Indefinitely, unfortunately.

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Re: Do you "warm up" before writing?

Post by Watcher55 » May 20th, 2011, 10:13 am

I look for sources of ideas without knowing which ideas I’m looking for. It’s like the world and all that’s in it is just a big Crater of Diamonds (that’s in Arkansas).

I’ll read passages from anything from Homer to Brian Greene (if your interested at all in String Theory and M-Theory, check out his work). I tend the yard (the butterfly bushes go well with the rose bushes). I go where people are and watch them (old bald guys have to be careful with this one – don’t want to look creepy). Now that I’ve regained a little control of my time, I cruise the blogs. Yesterday I stole an idea from Moni, Premonitions: Can there be such a thing as Future Tense?, and I’ve been practicing.

I keep my legal pad and pencil handy, because my WIP can’t tell time. “The time is now. Now is the time,” it softly whispers invitingly ( >:} ). I guess I don’t so much warm up for the task. I warm up to it.

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Re: Do you "warm up" before writing?

Post by polymath » May 20th, 2011, 11:24 am

Watcher55 wrote:Yesterday I stole an idea from Moni, Premonitions: Can there be such a thing as Future Tense?, and I’ve been practicing.
Hmm. I don't see why future tense can't be a main tense with present and past tense auxilliaries. Temporal modal verbs like would, will, must, and the like would set the scene and then can smoothly transition between present and past auxilliaries. Probably work most best from a highly unreliable subjective viewpoint readers can take with a grain of salt.

Challenges I see are too easily lapsing into passive voice constructs, highly unreliable viewpoints are challenging to write for reader accessibility, and too easily lapsing into recital reporting (tell) when scene reporting (show) closes narrative distance and recital opens narrative distance.

Future tense works for closing narrative distance through accessing thoughts, especially prescient volitional thoughts. Not to be outdone, polymath would rue the day Watcher55 indirectly posed a future tense challenge. Watcher55 must pay. He will pay, if polymath has anything to say about it. The main aspect, though, would be staying in the meaning space time, place, situation, and personas of the dramatic conflict so narrative distance doesn't open so much it's an unbridgeable breach.
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Watcher55
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Re: Do you "warm up" before writing?

Post by Watcher55 » May 20th, 2011, 1:25 pm

polymath wrote:
Watcher55 wrote:Yesterday I stole an idea from Moni, Premonitions: Can there be such a thing as Future Tense?, and I’ve been practicing.
Hmm. I don't see why future tense can't be a main tense with present and past tense auxilliaries. Temporal modal verbs like would, will, must, and the like would set the scene and then can smoothly transition between present and past auxilliaries. Probably work most best from a highly unreliable subjective viewpoint readers can take with a grain of salt.

Challenges I see are too easily lapsing into passive voice constructs, highly unreliable viewpoints are challenging to write for reader accessibility, and too easily lapsing into recital reporting (tell) when scene reporting (show) closes narrative distance and recital opens narrative distance.

Future tense works for closing narrative distance through accessing thoughts, especially prescient volitional thoughts. Not to be outdone, polymath would rue the day Watcher55 indirectly posed a future tense challenge. Watcher55 must pay. He will pay, if polymath has anything to say about it. The main aspect, though, would be staying in the meaning space time, place, situation, and personas of the dramatic conflict so narrative distance doesn't open so much it's an unbridgeable breach.
Well done :)

Credit where credit is due my friend. Shall we say I passed the challenge along?

Passive voice and meaning space (that term still geeks my brain), present a difficult dynamic so it seems to me any techniqueS must include a common solution for both or at least some binding principles. As you say, present and past tense auxiliaries are important tools, but if we examine the idea of a character arc within a larger work, context can also help mitigate the disadvantages of passive voice and meaning space.

Another challenge has to do with the lack of future tense suffixes. What you end up with is lots of “going to”s, “will”s, and “will be”s. Maybe we can get away with inventing suffixes (let me get my mad scientist glasses)

did/do/gon’na/will
laughed/laughs/laugh’na/laugh’ll

Naaah – wait, I know (back me up on this Moni) – laughed/laughs/laughoni.

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