Any good writing warm-ups? — Frequent Questions

Q: How can I get ready to write? Do you know any good writing warm-ups?
A: You mean like cracking your knuckles? I hear it’s really bad for you.

writing warm-upsSome writers sit down at a keyboard and start pounding out words like they’ve never stopped.

Others need some sort of ritual to get them in the right mood. Like runners, they want to warm up before they get to writing.

I’ll tell you what doesn’t work as a writing warm-up—reading Twitter. That’s what I did just before writing this blog post and of course I found something that disturbed my mental equilibrium. Don’t disturb your mental equilibrium before writing. Or ever, if you can manage it.

Writing warm-ups and rituals

I start and end my day by writing gratitudes. If you’re looking for something to write to warm you up for the “real” writing on your plate, you can’t beat gratitudes.

Or grab a writing prompt (or make one up yourself) and set a timer. It can be fun to write in a totally different genre than your “real” writing. Or write in the same style you’re warming up to write in, but write about an incredibly small detail.

For instance, if you’re writing about an IPO you might focus on the kinds of briefcases folks in the financial services industry carry. Or on the ritual of ringing the bell to open the New York Stock Exchange on the day the IPO goes live. Imagine it in super slow motion. The sound of the bell ringing. The bustle on the floor beginning. The celebration of the company’s representatives in the balcony overlooking the floor.

For an added twist, write up your business story in crayon. It’s hard to be serious and formal—the things people believe business writing requires—when you’re doing it with a magenta Crayola.

Have fun with your writing warm-ups. There’s plenty of time to get serious later.

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