Before I start to write anything, I do a writing warm up. The reason I do this is to avoid the pain of looking at the screen and wondering where to start, how to start, then fighting with the idea of why I can’t start sometimes.
The warm up is basic.
I locate a random image online, read a Facebook feed for ideas (I don’t stalk, promise), watch the news, look at headlines in websites, do YouTube searches then I ponder the main idea of what I am looking at and ask myself “What would I do in this situation?”
Then, and this is the important part, I write a 100 word story on that premise. I spend ten to fifteen minutes hacking out an idea, usually with a character (but not always), until I have the perfect 100 word story in front of me. Okay, maybe not perfect, but something I am happy to post onto NibbleReads and believe it will be well read.
The reason I do this is to jump start my writer brain. Since I have several brains, I need to shut some of them off before I can write effectively. While I have no issue with multiple thoughts and ideas floating around my head, when it comes to writing, they can become a major distraction from the writing process.
This begins with shutting my brains down, removing the distracting thoughts like “How many people have visited NibbleReads today?”, “What do I need to buy for dinner tonight?”, “How will I explain gravity to a nine year old who has already fried my brain with questions about gravity?” …. (seriously, gravity is an amazing capacity to confuse and belittle the greatest minds on Earth, and I am not a great mind. If you doubt me, spend 30 minutes researching it).
Shutting down the internal chatter is the first step to my writing routine. That begins with the basic research for headline ideas for my first story. It nudges me into a mildly focused writer trance. When I spend a few minutes finding an idea, I am also gaining access to the writer section because gaining the idea for the 100 word story requires me to find the story in the headline that forces my head to find the story within it.
During that process, when I narrow the idea to one headline, then I need to edge into the idea for the story, the character, the emotion and how to express it.
While the idea is in the budding stages, I begin writing the first sentence.
From that point on, the story effectively writes itself. Normally to about 150 words.
When I have completed the first draft, the secondary writer brain kicks in because now I have written something, I now need to reduce it.
That requires a potentially brutal process of word removing, sentence rewrites, considering a word that can replace two or three words, considering whether all of the information is required to tell the story or not and so on.
Then comes the part where I rewrite the story in a way the infers the background rather than telling it…… think of a story as an ice burg, most of the story is untold yet inferred by the reader, this inferring can save words while strengthening the story and giving it a depth beyond the 100 words given.
During this fifteen minute process I will have my focus, I will also have a full story in front of me (which can be a massive win in it’s own right), and by the time I reach the main writing project, my brain is fully engaged in the process.
Doing this allows me to be fully engaged before I start working on my longer works, and it is a fantastic ways to test your writer skills along the way, but it also gives me the start I need. Sometimes the idea of taking on a major project is overwhelming, so I don’t even start. But when I tell myself I only need to write 100 words and decide whether I keep going after that or not, I am typically okay with 100 words. By the time I finish the story, I almost always keep writing because, well, now I have started I may as well keep going.
Plus, and this is absolutely the best part, I have a story to share on NibbleReads.
So, if you decide to follow my process in writing one 100 word story a day for a warm up, and you believe it is good enough, submit it to NibbleReads for others to read and enjoy and get your work out there, throw in your links and you may even get some traffic thrown in for good measure. Every one wins.