This week I started to formally hang out my shingle as a writing coach, and one of the ladies from my critique group took me up on it. We met up, and after discussing the issue that she specifically had questions about, she mentioned that sometimes it was hard to start writing without worrying about the end product. Even with these exercises, she felt pressured to come up with a full story, or something that was already polished.
This is not the first time someone has told me that they get a mental block between wanting to write something–and actually sitting down to write it. So, for this week, I have an exercise specifically designed to break through that block. Below are three mini-exercises. Before starting this week’s #WriteFridays exercise, sit down with your pen and paper (yes, your pen and paper), and a timing device of some sort. Then, read further.
Each mini-exercise includes a prompt and a time. When you are ready, start your timer. The minute the seconds begin ticking, your pen starts writing. Even if you don’t know what to say. Even if you are just writing the prompt to get your ink flowing. Write whatever you want to until the timer buzzes–just don’t lift your pen from that page, or let it rest in one place.
In between each exercise, set the timer for two minutes. During those two minutes, do something away from your desk. Do some jumping jacks. Drink a beer. Wash a dish. Pet your dog. (Just don’t go online … Try to avoid social media. Instead, do something that engages you physically.) When the timer pings–back to your seat for the next one!
Mini-Exercise 1 (3:00 Minutes): It is early Sunday morning. You are barely awake, when you notice, out the front window, a postal vehicle. A woman gets out, carrying a package. She walks up to the door, lays the package on the porch, and hightails it out of there. You open the door and reach down for the package…
Mini-Exercise 2 (5:00 Minutes): You walk into your house to find your partner at the kitchen table. Eyes wet and rimmed with red, it takes a moment before he/she can compose him/herself. “I don’t know how to tell you this…”
Mini-Exercise 3 (7:00 Minutes): You are walking through an outdoor marketplace, filled with the stalls of local farmers, artisans, and crafters. Some of the stuff seems pretty cool, but it’s hot outside and you’re ready to head next door to a local coffeehouse and grab an iced espresso. Just as you pass the last couple of stalls, an old man with a beer belly and an impressive mullet jumps out in front of you. “Quick, come over here,” he says, grabbing your arm and pulling you into his stall. “I found it!”