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BrainPick Warming up: Whatever works

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Who Runs Publishing?

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Agatha Christie claimed that washing dishes stimulated the flow of ideas.

Ernest Hemingway sharpened a dozen pencils and then assumed an odd position: He wrote standing up.

Norman Mailer used alcohol: "I usually need a can of beer to prime me."

Mark Twain wrote lying down.

For me I do a little mindfulness for fifteen minutes, have a big cup of tea, read 'Chambers Dictionary of Etymology.'
I'm a night owl, so I find ideas come to me later on in the day or mostly in my dreams. The sort of dreams, that wake you up and you can't get back to sleep until you have written it down. I carry a notebook with me everywhere full of quotes from writers, for inspiration. But if I'm socialising with friends and family it stays at home :)

How do my fellow writers warm up for writing?
 

Matnov

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Never really given it any consideration. I suppose I always have a mug of tea close to hand and could not envisage sitting down to write without having had at least one cup before but that could also apply to almost anything else I do. I enjoy like a good stretch and maybe even a cheeky scratch but apart from that, it is more a case of grabbing a time slot to write when it presents itself rather than having to mentally prepare.

I can imagine writing standing up, and in a perfect world could envisage tapping away on a wireless keyboard, resting on a music sheet stand with the words appearing on a large, wall mounted screen, but as it is, then at best, my dining table having swiped one of the kids laptops. Or else on my freebie tablet whilst doing my best not to get soaked or blown over by the wind at work.

I have more of a problem winding down after having had a few hours to bash away. Then I am buzzing and struggle to focus on the more mundane slings and arrows of my life.
 

Amber

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How do my fellow writers warm up for writing?

Julia Cameron, an author who writes about creativity, recommends morning pages:

Morning Pages

Which, I don't do. But don't they sound like a good idea?

I don't have a warm up. I always need something to drink but that isn't because I may or may not write, it's because I think it's important to stay hydrated.

I do have a habit. But it's a secret. It's not a secret weapon though. So, there's nothing for anyone to gain by knowing what it is.

Isn't Hemingway funny? A writer egotistical enough to believe himself a doer. He may have been both. But every anecdote I hear about him convinces me he strove to seem rather than be the biggest and the best and the most.... everything. Just thinking about it gives me a headache.
 

AngryPI

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I can't even fathom how you can write continuously whilst standing.

I think I like Norman Mailer.

I can understand that good feeling of accomplishment by doing something easy and mindless like Agatha Christie, then sitting down to write.

For me, I tell myself that I am not entirely pathetic and I can do the thing. Sometimes I even do the thing.
 

Tim James

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I run 5 miles then swim 2 miles then cycle 25 miles then do 100 press-ups then ...
But seriously though, I'm not really sure.
Most ideas come to me out of the blue and then I have to write them down, otherwise I forget and wish later that I had stopped to write it down.
As for preparing to write, I'm not sure I do anything.
I find a lot of the so-called "getting ready" exercises (doodling, reading, listening to music, etc.) don't really do anything to help me.
Sometimes, when I'm playing my flute I'll have an idea and writing will ensue, but whether my playing helped or not I really have no idea.
Mostly though ideas come at the end of the day, annoyingly when I'm trying to get to sleep.
I'm not really a morning person at all.
 

Robinne Weiss

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Morning person here--no warm-ups, per se, but I knock back all the little irritating chores quickly (like, before 7.30 am), and then get to it. I write standing a lot of the time, though I end up sitting when I have lots of written notes and research to consult (because the sitting desk is bigger than the standing desk).
 
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