For me, the most difficult part of writing is getting started. Whether it’s an academic research paper or a personal essay, getting those first words on the page is always the most daunting task. A few techniques I’ve found most helpful are brainstorming, making an outline and, sometimes, just spewing words onto the page in hopes that it will spark some further thought. Once the writing process has begun, I always write in single-spaced format and haphazardly adjust my computer screen brightness as I type. The latter is quite a strange ritual — sometimes the dimmest setting feels too bright and other times the brightest setting feels too dim. I am always changing the brightness of my screen while I write.
For this semester, I’d like to start a new ritual to help me combat the “getting started” blues when I have to write. In order to do so, I am going to do an unrelated mini-writing exercise before I begin a school writing assignment. I have two journal-like books that have a number or writing prompts to get thoughts flowing and I will use one of those prompts to do a quick 5-10-minute hand written exercise.
In the past, answering writing prompts and just using something to get thoughts flowing into written form has been helpful in sparking ideas for other writing assignments. I think using the writing prompts in my books to help give me “practice” writing has the potential to positively impact my writing in other areas while also generating thought-provoking topics.