1. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    Do you do warm-up exercises before you write?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by mrieder79, May 21, 2016.

    I've experimented with them and currently I do about 5 minutes of stream of consciousness or a loosely organized scene. I try to focus on word flow and rhythm. It seems to focus my mind and I feel that I achieve greater novelty in my sentence structure when I perform this exercise prior to writing.

    Anyone else do warm ups?
     
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  2. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    Absolutely! I find yoga helps tremendously. :p
     
  3. Miller0700
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    Miller0700 Contributing Member

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    Nope, I just jump in.
     
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  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Warm up one: write scene.
    Warm up two: rewrite scene.
    Warm up three: edit scene some more.
    Warm up four: rewrite scene again....

    and so on. :D
     
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  5. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    I'm a writer, so needless to say i can't afford central heating...
     
  6. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    I like to write after time away from my laptop during which I was thinking about my ideas. If I spend hours at school or something with relevant thoughts bubbling away that's when I'll get the most out onto a page. So my warm-up exercise is to go away.
     
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  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I do warm ups. I got into the habit when I was an acolyte of John Steinbeck. He used to warm up by writing a letter to his friend and editor. (He wouldn't mail these; he just used them as warm ups. His editor probably found them when Steinbeck submitted the finished manuscript.)

    I warm up by making notes about my story. When I write by hand, I take notes in Moleskine notebooks before heading to the big "story" notebook I write the text in. When I write the text of the story, it only goes onto the right-hand pages, leaving me the left-hand pages for corrections and more notes. Rinse and repeat for as many drafts as necessary.
     
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  8. Alex R. Encomienda
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    Alex R. Encomienda Active Member

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    The only "warm up" that I do is listen to Cassandra Gemini by the Mars Volta back to back with Octavarium by Dream Theater.

    Magic happens.
     
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  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    A long walk when time allows.
     
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  10. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sort of...

    I come on here and poke around for threads in which someone asks a question about writing that I think I can answer (I'm sometimes surprised at the stuff I think I know something about). Or threads discussing some aspect of writing that I find hard to ignore. Posting replies in such threads makes me feel like a writer, even if I sometimes joke around or say things that most people think are a complete waste of time to read (from an advice POV).

    Other than that, I bring up my outline (in Excel) and try not to get bored with it (it's so dry) before bringing up my MS in Word and follow the bookmark I placed where I started writing the day before. I give the previous day's work a read-through and sometimes get bogged down in an overhaul, but most of the time it's fix a typo or two and that's it. If all goes well, I'm primed and ready to upchuck sparkling brand new words onto the page.

    But even after all that, there are still days when I just sit and stare at the screen wondering why I ever passed up my chance to be a pole-dancer. (sigh)
     
  11. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do this when I get stuck. Amazing how much it helps.
     
  12. KokoN
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    KokoN Active Member

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    Very interesting, I never thought about doing writing warm-ups. Not sure if it would help or hinder me from writing. I think rather it might be something I could do on days when I can't come up with anything to write in whatever I'm currently working on. If I already have something in my head to write, I think doing warm-ups would make me forget what I was planning.
     
  13. tumblingdice
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    tumblingdice Member

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    Well this is new to me. I think the only thing I do that's close to warming up is listening to my stories' playlists on youtube :D. I always need music to get in the mood for writing.
     
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  14. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    I warm up by proofreading and editing a little bit of the scene proceeding what I am about to write. This helps me keep the tone and flow right, and just gets me in the mood.
     
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  15. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'm curious about what you mean by doing a loosely organized scene. You mean it's kind of a pre-write of the scene you're about to tackle? This sounds interesting, but I'm not sure how to do it.
     
  16. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess I do. Never really thought about it until now.

    I go outside, have a smoke, and try to get myself in the frame of writing. I think about where I left off and what's to come. When I open Scrivener, I read what I wrote the day before, then dive right in.
     
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  17. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    I usually start with just a word or a concept. I follow that word or concept wherever my imagination takes it with as little cognitive processing as possible. My warm ups have nothing to do with my WIP. They are simply a way to get the words flowing more easily and helping me calm my mind to let the story come out more clearly.

    Here is an example of a recent warm-up:

    Brambles. That's what they are—brambles. Their tiny serrated teeth tear at unprotected shins and snag looping lenghts of thread from what was, until moments ago, a good school shirt. I press on. These little plant teeth don't grind the bones. They don't have grasping hands and searching eyes beneath matted hunks of greasy hair. They won't hold you and bite you and taste your insides the way He will—if he catches me.

    So I ignore the scratches and torn shirt and the blood and the thorns that lodge in my thin summer skin. I run, biting my lip so that I don't scream. I bite so hard that I taste the salty sweetness of my own blood—the same taste that He craves.

    A mad cackle is all the warning I get. Then a pressure—quick, blunt, and strangely numb—bears down on the back of my head. It reminds me of wisdom tooth removal. It's the pressure that dredges the memory from my fading consciousness, the numb, painless, terrible pressure.

    Here is another one that is more stream of consciousness and less cognitive:

    Farce. Throw that shit down and stomp until the blood runs deep. Fling it. Fling it far and away and don't look back until the sun burns your neck cold. Feel the rivulets, watch them run, furl and unfurl and fasten and hoist and render and scour and purge and join and hammer and glue and craft and mold and throw the whole thing out past the reef to open madness. See that down there. See it sink. Watch the hold of the heavens weaken and fade and see the underlord crease his dread cheeks and rake his black claws. Enjoy it. This is your last one.
     
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  18. Nicole-tan
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    Nicole-tan Member

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    I like to go for a walk and listen to music. Usually its music that fits the theme that I want to write about. It always works for me.
     
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  19. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Nope not really. Might go for a walk to the mailbox and back(2 mile round trip) just to declutter the next bit to be written, and figure out how it will work with the story over all. :)
     
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  20. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    It's freewriting, then. That makes sense.
     
  21. HelloImRex
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    HelloImRex Contributing Member

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    No, and I doubt they help, but the placebo effect can. So, if you think warmup exercises improve your writing then you best keep at it and try not to question the effectiveness.
     
  22. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    Yes! Freewriting! That's it.
     
  23. halisme
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    halisme Contributing Member Contributor

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    Step 1: Write half a chapter.
    Step 2: Discard and write again.
    Step 3: Leave for two days.
    Step 4: Discard the previous work.

    This is my warm up.
     
  24. DeadMoon
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    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

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    This board is my warmup. And sometimes the workout too.
     
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  25. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    LOL! That's almost every single day for me and it's why I do the warm-ups. :)

    I always have to write at least a short note about these things. Either my memory is shot or I'm really lost in self actualization. Either way, I'm hopeless and have to write that stuff down.
     

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