Every morning I follow a routine. I wake, let little Ernie outside for his morning “whittle,” feed Vinny his wet food, make coffee, take my morning medication, pour a morning cup of hot coffee and then settle down with my computer on my lap.
When the computer is “booted-up,” I follow another routine of collecting my free chips for the Facebook casino game I enjoy, check my email accounts, and finally I settle down for a morning of writing. I think the hardest thing I do everyday is come up with an idea for my blog. Anybody else have this problem?
I rejoice when I actually have an idea before I start writing, but those cases are so rare, it’s not worth talking about. So, by trial and by error, I slug it out and search my brain for an actual topic. When I really get stymied, I go and look at other blogs for inspiration, but most of the time the topic comes by just writing. Getting my fingers on the keys, pounding out familiar strokes, and seeing the words appear on the screen — at this point– ANY words will do. When I have SOMETHING down, at least I can work with it or DELETE it and try again. I’ve broken the ice. Whatever I’ve written proved to me that there is something in my head I can discuss.
In my writing class, I call this stage of the game “FREE-WRITING.” My students call it a waste of time. My novices are not convinced that a writer must limber up like a toned athlete. Sometimes I think they believe that ballpoint pens are magic wands, producing the necessary word count without effort. What they don’t understand is important things happen during this warm-up stage. They don’t connect THINKING with writing. (Heaven forbid!) For them, writing is a necessary evil they must endure to complete their desired programs; after all, why does a hair stylist or a welder need to know how to write?
My reality is I will convince one or two of them that writing is fun. I’ll convince another few that writing is something they must conquer to be viable in the world. And the rest will not change their minds about anything I try to teach them about the joys of writing. It’s the way of the world. I just wish I was more powerful to change it.