In comments to the post, Staring Out The Window Is Good For Freelance Writers, Ryan asked:
… how do you center yourself and clear your mind before writing. I’ve had difficulty clearing my thoughts (and) in getting my thoughts out there (on the screen.) I do take pleasure in writing, however it seems like the first 10-15 minutes are lost just trying to figure out how to begin.
Any suggestions or tips?
First of all, that first few minutes of what I sometimes call pencil sharpening, is not at all unusual. It seems the brain needs a few minutes to focus on the writing. Maybe it’s like clearing your throat or centering yourself. So don’t be too hard on yourself for this.
That said, the quickest way I know to get started on any writing is to start writing!
Just start… even if it’s something seemingly silly like ‘I’m now writing and I don’t yet know what to write.’ Usually that will get me started or help me realize that I’m not ready to write about whatever and either need to do more research or start on another topic, etc.
It’s amazing what happens when we start to put actual words and sentences down, really writing. Often the mind will clear in a marvelous way.
Another truth is that the more you write the easier it gets, and that includes the getting started bit. That’s one reason I sign off with ‘write well and often.’ Practice helps, truly.
It also helps to have some sort of writing schedule or routine. Somehow my mind/brain knows I start writing most days around 7 am, so it tends to cooperate… it’s a habit, a good one.
Finally, I’ve found a meditation practice has helped. I happen to do a Zen meditation, but it’s certainly not the only one that works. Over time a meditation practice seems to help my do any task more easily, including the writing.
Do you have a question about freelance writing? Ask it in comments or send an email with Q&A in the subject line; I’ll do my best to answer it here.
Your turn: How do you get started writing? Do you have a ritual? A method? Share it in comments and let’s see how we’re different and the same.