Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pre-Writing Techniques, Rituals, and Dealing with Writer's Block

Last October 11, Saturday, I attended my first ever writing workshop. Though I'm a bit disappointed in myself because I was 13 minutes late. But whatever, it was totally worth it. The two speakers were well-known news/feature writers in the communication industry here in the Philippines, so I was very thankful to be one of their students even for just one day.

I really learned a lot from the workshop. Like the different Story Structures , finding your Story Angle, ways to find a Story Line, various Pre-Writing Techniques and Rituals to bring out the inner writer in you, how to overcome writer's block, and writing a good lead. I'm going to share my favorite ones among all those things which I think would be helpful to many as well.

Pre-Writing Techniques and Rituals:
These activities would stimulate your mind in your pre-writing stage. 

Creating an outline and drawing a mind map were two of the four tips the speakers gave us. These two are pretty common because most of us have already learned it from school. Therefore I won't expound on it anymore. But the next two tips the speakers shared were a little bit more peculiar.

  1. Morning Pages
This is when you write around 3 pages of your thoughts first thing in the morning in order to help you gain clarity and produce ideas. But take note, writing morning pages require you to use pen and paper, not gadgets.
      2. Artist Dates
First of all, can I just say how much I love the way it sounds? Anyway, artist dates are trips taken once-a-week that would help you discover more of the things that tickle your fancy. For example, if you're into writing, bookstores may be a good option for you. Or if you're an aspiring artist, exhibits and museums would suit your taste. According to the speaker, "artist dates fires up imagination and encourages play." 

How to Deal with Writer's Block:
  1. Creating your own time and space
You must find your Golden Hour. This is the time of the day when you write the most with the best quality. For me, it's from 11pm to 4am. Yep. My Golden Hour is that late.. and I think that's the reason I ended up becoming a night owl. No regrets though. Then once you find your Golden Hour, you must take advantage of it. Don't waste any second. As for space, you have to find/create a conducive place where you can write. Clear the clutter around you and work on one thing at a time to help you focus.
  1. Do something unrelated to writing.
During the workshop, we all agreed that you shouldn't force it when no idea is coming to you at a certain time. Taking a walk outside, listening to music, exercising, and watching television are some of the good options you can take. Put simply, just do something unrelated to writing that can clear your mind.
  1. Do writing exercises
If you don't want to do something unrelated to writing, it's fine. You can do free writing or use photos as your writing prompts. For the latter, this means finding a photo and trying to come up with different story angles related to it. An example is a photo of a beach. What story angles can you write using a photo of a beach? Some examples are: top 10 beaches in the world, tips on how to stay on budget while planning for a beach vacation, a review about a beach resort, etc. I like this tip so much because let's be real, letting your eyes see just a bunch of words for quite a long time is pretty tiring. Looking at photos is a fresh way of coming up with writing prompts.
       4. Do word play.
Just play with words that are suitable to your topic or interest. You'll be amazed with how much you've come up with later on.

So those are my favorite tips from the workshop! Attending it was totally worthwhile. Nothing feels better than learning about new things relevant to your interests. It gives you a sense of productivity and growth. Looking forward to my next one! 

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