Techniques for Getting Started Writing

Contributed by Deane Gradous, Twin Cities consultant

· Set a timer for 510 minutes, and write for the entire time. Aim to write anything that is even slightly related to your topic. It's OK to set down your thoughts and feelings about approaching this writing task.

· Ask a colleague to listen while you talk about your writing project and the ideas you plan to convey to your reader. Then go to your computer and start writing.

· Take a handful of 3" x 5" index cards and write your ideas on them, one per card. Arrange and rearrange your cards in an order that makes sense. Add ideas as they occur to you. Then tape the cards to a large sheet of paper and fill in the details around each idea. Very often, the ideas on the cards become headings or topic sentences for paragraphs.

· Begin to write anywhere in the middle of the piece. Start with the most interesting [to you!] part. Your enthusiasm may carry you into completing your writing project. Write the beginning of the piece last or whenever you are ready to do so.

· Put your reader in an empty chair and talk to your reader as if he or she were sitting across the desk from you. What is your reader most interested in learning from what you are writing? After your conversation, start writing.

· Listen to baroque music. Mentally explore your topic. Reread your notes. Relax, and let your subconscious take over for a few minutes. Expect an A Ha! Write quickly.

· Go for a walk and consider what you want to say to the reader. Return to your computer, and start writing.

· Create a Mind Map. Write your way around it.

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