Different ways we get ready to write (and writing is a creative process)

This week, my writing classes are exploring the different ways we get ready to write. I’ve written my thoughts about this in previous blog posts, including this blog post from earlier this year: Getting Ready to Write (in 2012). But, I’d like to reinforce this additional message: Whatever you’re writing, whether it’s an advertising campaign, poem, fiction, research paper, blog post, etc., writing is a CREATIVE PROCESS. Business writing and creative writing both require the “creative juices” in our bodies to be flowing in abundance. So, whenever we’re getting ready to write, it’s important to stir up our creativity!

One way to do this is through mind mapping. Here’s an infographic I found on Pinterest that shows how mind mapping can work:

 

Have you tried mind mapping? Or maybe you prefer other ways to get your creative juices flowing and to get ready to write? Please share the ways you get ready to write by commenting on this post. Thanks for reading and sharing! — KM

Comments

  1. Aleaha jones says:

    When I’m getting ready to write, I usually like to read something in the same style or tone of what I’m about to write. For example, if I’m about to write a term paper, I usually read a past paper I’ve written or a professional paper online, to be reminded of the proper style. My thought patterns usually tend to reflect what I’ve recently read- if I read something humorous right before I start working I’m more likely to make jokes in my paper or post.
    I also listen to music before and during my writing time. Right now my current favorite to get me in the writing mood is “She Went Quietly” by Charlie Winston. It’s long and soft enough that I can mostly tune it out, but just the little bit of background noise helps me focus. If I don’t have music playing I get distracted by a million other things in the room and lose whatever I’m writing about instantly.
    I’m also a fan of prewriting all the important points I want to hit and then going back to fill in the details. That’s the only way I can make sure I cover everything I want to. And, once I’m finished, I can’t skip rereading what I’ve written to make sure it’s good enough!

  2. Christine Gitch says:

    There are a couple of different ways I get ready to write. My favorite thing to do to get my creative juices flowing is to go for an exhausting, long nature walk. When I go for a walk outside, my mind tends to wander and think of numerous creative ideas, which draws me to writing about them. Seeing how beautiful and adventurous nature is truly gets me thinking!
    Another way that gets me ready to write is “people watching”. As crazy as it sounds, going out in the public, like to the mall or walking around the city, or anywhere that is highly populated, gets my creative juices flowing. Watching people do their own thing is extremely intriguing to me. Watching the different ways they communicate (verbally and nonverbally), the way they dress, the way they walk, anything! People watching gets my creative juices flowing because it makes my mind think of so many different topics to write about.
    Other people may get ready to write by eating certain foods, such as chocolate, because it brings your energy level up and gets your brain flowing.

  3. Ashley Russo says:

    When I first get ready to write, I have to refrain myself from using my cell phone. This is one big distraction that I have because I will always be looking for a scapegoat. If I were to get a text message from a friend to go out and do something, it would be more than likely that I would stop writing my soon to be paper, and go out with my friend. I also like to listen to music, I either put on my own Itunes, or listen to pandora.com, soft pop genre. When I am going to write a long paper, music helps me relax and get in the zone. It allows to me dismiss all outside issues and stresses, and focus on what is going on in the moment.

    While I am writing, it is helpful for me to create new ideas if I read out loud what I am typing or writing as I write it. This helps me generate new thoughts, because as I am reading out loud what I am writing, new thoughts are popping into my head on what to write next. When I write about something that interests me, it is a lot easier to get the flow going. When something does not interest me I literally have think back to fifth grade and create a web. Creating the web allows me to generate idea that don’t necessarily come off hand.
    All in all, it is not much of a process for me to get going when it comes to writing, obviously I have to be in the mood to write, but most of the time I find it quite relaxing and the ultimate stress reliever.

  4. Brandon Roffina says:

    When I get ready to write I will write out many different ideas on a sheet of paper and then cross off the ones that I do not like. I will also try and find a quiet place to write because I can become easily distracted and I do not want to be. To get the creative juices flowing I will maybe go for a walk outside, if it is nice out. I may also drink some coffee or tea if I am tires because I think that writing when you are tired whether it is professionally or academically, is a bad idea. Your ideas do not always come out the way you would like.
    If you are really stuck for ideas, then I like to look online or talk to others for inspiration. Also, a break every half hour or so can really help. Writing should be a place to express your own thoughts and let your brain flow onto the page.

  5. Throughout all my years of schooling, I have always been a procrastinator. Recently, I have luckily gotten out of that trend. Now, I keep an assignment circling through my head throughout the day until something hits me. Once it does, I report to my laptop immediately. If I am unable to, I simply put notes in my memo on my smartphone. This sometimes doesn’t work as effectively because my mind might not be in the game, but at least it’s a start.
    Recently, I have come to the realization that I do my best thinking while driving. I’ll be commuting back home from school and realize I have a vague recollection of the ride, but had an awesome stream of consciousness. If only there was an invention that copied down my deeper thoughts, I believe I could surpass many influential writers today.

  6. When I get ready to write, I usually write what first comes to mind and just write out my thoughts. I then go back and edit it piece by piece as I write. People have all different ways they get ready to write such as they have to make sure nothing is distracting them and everything around them is turned off or people brainstorm first and organize ideas. I usually don’t have a problem writing with having to do something first. One thing I cannot concentrate with is music playing. I could write with the television on which actually helps. Writing usually just comes to me. To get ready to write, I read the questions that I have to answer or what I need to complete before I start writing so I know what has to be included. I usually refer back to what I have to answer as I write. Most of the time, I can write at any time of the day and do not need to go do something first. With me, it’s all about rereading what I wrote afterwards and either adding things, taking sentences away, or rewording things. Also, really paying attention to the screen helps me stay focused.

  7. I used to be able to sit still and write for hours. I had this word processor before I learned about Microsoft Word and would print chapters out as I wrote them, saving them to a floppy disc. Now writing isn’t so easy. I’m 25 and when I was 14 I thought I’d have 5 novels published by now. The time and effort needed, the white screen, eye strain… it seems overwhelming now. I can concentrate long enough to get maybe 10 pages out, and then the internet distracts me along with daily life. School, work, band practice, a serious relationship, errands, homework, social obligations… it all crowds my schedule and keeps me from writing. The links provided this past class and this mind map will perhaps help me refocus and help me make the time to finish so many projects that are collecting dust.

  8. Margaret Casperson says:

    The following steps are the ones that used to get ready to write:

    1. Find a Quiet Space
    When I have a writing assignment, I have to go to a quiet place, so I won’t get distracted. When I am home, I like writing in my basement because it is the quietest place in my house.

    2. Brainstorming
    After finding a quiet place, I will start to brainstorm. I brainstorm my ideas on a sheet of paper. I don’t like brainstorming on the computer because I have a tendency to get distracted with Facebook. Brainstorming helps me organize my thoughts. When I am done brainstorming, I will take the ideas that I brainstormed and begin writing my actually assignment.

    If I Ever Get Writer’s Block …
    I make myself a cup of coffee. I don’t know what it about drinking coffee, but it helps me focus better.

  9. Jessica Z immer says:

    How I get started with writing depends on the style of writing. For instance, when writing/researching an artist for a magazine feature story, I love to look up imagery done by the artist and listen to up beat music to keep me alert. The imagery helps me understand connect the style of the artist or person with the text. I find that music really helps my mood and way of writing, but I physically cannot listen to music and write at the same time!

    As we all know, people are creatures of habit. So in order for me to “get in the zone” to write, I have to create an area where I feel comfortable and only have the television on as mere background noise when writing or typing on the computer. I think I write best when I have a clear mind, so if that means working out in the morning and spending an afternoon in my living room curled up with a cup of coffee, then I know I will get a lot done. I tend to over analyze things so I really need to make sure writing is my only responsibility otherwise I will subconsciously be thinking about other work or chores that need to be done. And I think one of the most important factors that impacts my writing is that I write best when I step away from the computer or come back to my work. Although I am good under pressure, I have never been the type of person who stays up late to complete work, I prefer re-reading my work and rewarding myself with mental breaks whether I am struggling or not.

  10. Crisanne Glasser says:

    Whenever I get ready to write, I ALWAYS have to do two things.

    1. Isolate
    Everyone in my house is absolutely ridiculous. Whether it be running around trying to make it to a practice on time, to singing loudly while cooking from the kitchen, there’s almost no time to sit down by yourself and think. when I write, I always try to isolate myself from whatever is happening in the house and go upstairs and close the door. When the door is closed, everyone knows to leave me alone to write.

    2. Put on some music
    For some reason, listening to music makes my ideas flow much easier. I usually write about up and coming bands, so that could be why, but it also works for writing research papers, press releases, blog posts, etc. Music relaxes me, and it becomes a lot easier for me to write when my brain is relaxed. Once the music goes on, the words start flowing.

  11. Ellina Levin says:

    When I am getting ready to write, I eliminate myself from everything. I put away my phone and any other sorts of technology. I get distracted easily, so any form of distraction I take away. When I actually begin to write, I like to listen to music. I can’t work when it is really quiet because then my thoughts drift off and I lose my place in what I am actually writing about. If I am stuck on what to write, I try to just write my thoughts in bullet points and figure out what I want to say from there. I put the bullet points together and see what ideas go together. When I am writing, I get into my writing and I don’t like being bothered. If I lose a train of thought, I get frustrated because I sit there and just stare until I figure out what I was going to say.

    I was never good a brainstorming ideas because beginning to write. I like to just start writing and let my ideas and thoughts come to me as I write. It makes more sense for me to start writing like that because I feel too stressed when I have to make an outline or organize my thoughts. Most of my thoughts don’t come to me until I begin writing. If I get stuck at writing, I usually get something to eat and then go back to writing. Food usually gets my thoughts following again.

  12. Marissa Friedrich says:

    If I receive a writing assignment one afternoon, I will not start on the assignment until the next morning. This is so, because that is when my most creative ideas come to mind. A while back, I read a news article that said a little something about your brain being most active in the morning and being able to come up with ideas more easily. Well I don’t know if its all in my head, but I tested it out and found this article to be accurate in my case. Ever since I read that article, I prefer writing my papers in the morning, even before I eat breakfast or get out of bed. The minute I open my eyes, I grab my laptop and my creative juices immediately start flowing. Doing papers in the evening is very difficult for me to accomplish as I have a lot going on, whether its going to the gym, watching television, eating, talking to friends, talking to my mom about our days at school/work, etc. I prefer to keep all of that in my evening schedule and get papers and other homework done in the morning. I tend to consider the evening a ‘loud’ time and the mornings a ‘quiet’ time, because in the evening people go out, and do things that can be very noisy, but in the morning people are still sleeping or just waking up, eating breakfast, so its nice and quiet, a perfect time to concentrate and work on a paper.

  13. Lara Mendoza says:

    The way I get ready to write would be writing down all the words and phrases that come to my mind on a piece of paper that have to do with the topic I am about to write about. Say for instance, I’m going to write a fashion blog, I would brainstorm words to describe what I want to say and use good adjectives to really describe and illustrate a picture with words. Now, I would only brainstorm and map out and outline and all that if I am asked to do an assignment for school or have to do a formal writing assignment, but other than that, my favorite type of writing would be creative writing. I have a tendency to write extremely conversational, and I think that’s the best type of writing! I like reading something when it feels like they are talking right to me! I also need to be in a quiet area to write. I cannot be distracted with a million other things going on.

  14. Katie Hambor says:

    There are plenty of times when I find myself unable to concentrate enough to do work of any type. If I’m doing work on the computer, I find myself procrastinating with other things online, mainly social media. Sometimes, if my intended work does not have an immediate deadline, I will try to go onto another project, often another that requires the internet or is design work (as I am a graphic design major, there tends to be plenty of this). The latter certainly helps to get my creative juices flowing, which will sometimes help me think better when it comes to writing.
    If procrastinating with other things does not work, I will then try the “smart” way to concentrate—get focused. To do this, I may try writing things out handwritten, even if it just a list of points for me to touch on. Other things I do to get myself focused are synonymous with my methods of getting relaxed. These include taking a nice long shower, meditating (well, my meditation isn’t what most people think of when they hear that word—I tend to just sit and “space” out for a bit; I don’t think of it as meditating but I suppose it is), having a good cup of tea (I’m a bit British at heart), or listening to calming music (specifically Mozart). I find these help me relax when my brain is running a mile a minute, disrupting my thought processes. Getting myself to calm down is most difficult part, but once I’m on track, there’s no stopping.

  15. Tina Cherrillo says:

    The first thing I do when I get ready to write is take a shower. I know, I know it sounds weird right? But that’s the place where I can just forget about everything else and focus. I clear my mind and put all my energy into brainstorming ideas for my writing. As soon as I’m all dried off, I immediately write down my ideas so I don’t forget them. After that I usually walk away from it for a while and watch some TV to get my creative juices flowing. Once I’m in the writing mood, I find a quiet, comfy place and start writing. Sometimes if I feel like being an overachiever I’ll make an outline of what I’m going to write beforehand. I have to have complete silence when I write. I get distracted very easily, so I can’t listen to music or have the TV on in the background. I usually take little breaks every now and then while I write so I don’t drive myself crazy. If don’t take breaks I tend to over think things and get stuck. I either watch some TV or eat something sweet to wake me up and keep me focused.

  16. I agree with Aleaha Jones. I also enjoy reading the same style I want to write in. The second step I consider is what I have to write about. Is it about animals? People? The weather? Sometimes I will research the topic, so I will be able to write about it efficiently. I also like thinking about different ideas in a strange or comical manner to make writing more exciting (for me anyway). That doesn’t mean I’m not serious about the topic. I just find that I write better when I am amused, or knowing that what I am writing is not a chore. After I have my fun, I will delete the comical ideas out of my head, and create an outline based on the article’s boundaries. In other words, I do not want to offend anyone with my article, so I will edit out the ideas that I find too offensive. If I go outside of the box at the beginning of the writing process, I often make a more creative article than if I stay inside the metaphorical box’s boundaries.

  17. Emily Lewton says:

    How I prepare to write
    – Listen to music while writing
    -Write in a quite space, away from distractions
    -Take lots of time to write, rewrite and edit
    -Think and research topic before writing to make sure I
    -Sometimes I drink tea/juice or eat something before or during my writing process.

    When I prepare to write whether it’s a formal or a creative writing piece I usually go into my room and get comfy in my bed. That way I have no excess to get up a million times delaying my writing process because I have everything around me that I need. In addition while I listen to music, such as Taylor Swift or One Direction. Similar to the article “10 New ideas for getting inspired to write” that says drinking caffeine helps stimulated your brain. I also drink caffeinated drinks such as tea or juice while writing.

  18. when I get ready to write, before i even touch the keyboard I put my head phone in and tur the music on. Most of the time im listening to a some that will put me in the mood to want to do some work. Then I will look for some background information and make some key bullet points for myself before I start writing so I can have some where to start from. I will all way have some soda and chips or some kind of sweet snack for myself to eat when ever iI feel like im getting writters block or if im beginning to get tired. I also keep the music on throughout the whole assignment it helps to keep me focused.

  19. Emily Reese says:

    I don’t really have one set way that I begin writing. However, I noticed that I write my best when I sit somewhere alone in quiet without any people or noises distracting me, which is quite hard to actually find, especially at college. I really need to make myself focus and not let my mind wander or think about the many other things going on in my life at any given moment. It takes discipline and self-control for me to sit and write.
    I’ve also realized that I need to write every idea that I have down on a piece of paper no matter how ridiculous it may be. You never know when some crazy idea will spark a good, concrete idea. One last thing I do when I begin to write is research the topic and aspects related to the topic because I sometimes learn interesting facts about the topic that allow me to make connections and give different perspectives to something. Inspiration can come from anywhere.

  20. Alycia Mantoni says:

    Writing is not something that comes easy to me, so in order to write, I need to be comfortable with music playing in the background. It also helps if I have a cup of coffee and eat beforehand. Once I start writing, it is easier for me to just knock the whole paper in the same sitting that I start it. After this long writing session, I always wait a few hours or until the next day to go back and proofread everything to make sure it’s perfect!
    I always brainstorm by writing all of my ideas on paper in lists. I like to start writing the body paragraphs first, because for some reason I always have a harder time with the opening and closing paragraphs.

  21. Colleen Barringer says:

    Whenever I write I need to feel inspired. Whether I’m writing a song, research paper, blog post or just the answer to a simple question I like to make an outline. If I’m about to begin writing a lengthy paper I generally use a roman numeral based outline whereas if I’m writing something more simple I’ll just use bullet points or jot down a random set of words.

    Writing about something related to music is much easier for me than writing about something more math related, for instance. Despite the difficulty surrounding certain topics I still feel as though I need to feel passionate about the points I’m making in whatever I’m writing. If the passion is there my thoughts flow much more freely.

    Typically I like to be in a quiet area. The more quiet the environment is in which I’m writing the faster I’m able to finish a piece of work. Maybe I’m just easily distracted but I feel as though I need to place my full attention on the paper (or computer screen) in front of me.

  22. Brianna Fliegelman says:

    Writing does not come to me easily but when I do write, I do have to an outline to organize my thoughts. I write down everything and organize it, to where it flows well. If and when I do write something, it has to be something that I am interested in and want to write about. I like creative writing the best and something where there are not that many rules and restrictions. I also do rewrites, most of the time because I do get easily distracted. I turn everything off and try my hardest to focus!

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