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UpWrite Press understands the importance of writing skills in business: We're business people just like you. On this blog you'll find tips to improve your writing, along with topics of interest to our staff.

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    Jumping into Writing

    Monday, September 09, 2013

    Recently, we received the following comment from a visitor:

    I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your mind prior to writing. I've had difficulty clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out there. I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin.

    Here’s a brief answer:

    Those first 10 to 15 minutes aren't really wasted if a beginning results. However, to feel more centered and less scattered, remember to think of writing as a process instead of just jumping in.

    1. Take time to brainstorm ideas without critique. This can be either just before writing or during the course of the day, as ideas occur—in a grocery line, for example.
    2. Choose the best idea for your current purpose.
    3. Examine and expand on your chosen idea; decide what you're going to write about it.
    4. Write a draft.
    5. Review and polish.

    As you can see, writing is step 4 of a 5-step process. The 10 to 15 minutes you describe are actually capturing steps 1–3. Approaching each of those steps separately can help focus your efforts, resulting in better, more satisfying writing.

    Put another way, writing isn’t skydiving. We can’t just take a leap and expect the gravity of our need to hurl us someplace specific.

    Writing is more like a footrace—ready, set, go! A bit of prep work lends us the best start, and even then there’s some inertia to overcome before we reach our stride and make progress toward our goal.

    Writing isn’t skydiving. And even if it were, we’d need to prep a parachute to avoid jumping to a bad conclusion. 

    —Lester Smith

    Photo by Laura Hadden