What I Tell Myself To Get Writing

You can do this.

Get the pen and paper out. Or keyboard and screen. Or thumbs on the screen. Whatever works. All work.

I can do it anywhere, anytime. Just a flat surface, paper and pen. Or my laptop.

Get the timer out. Set the alarm. Set it for a minute. Just one. Can’t be writing more than one.

Before starting the clock, close eyes and think about something. Breathe. See what comes. Get a sense of it. Feel its contours. Weigh its gravitas. Whatever it is. It could be anything. Anything is good.

What I like. What I don’t like. What makes me angry. Or makes me happy. A childhood memory. An aspiration. A regret. An opportunity missed. A door opened. A story rattling around in my head. What happened today or yesterday. Whatever I feel strongly about.

Stay with that thing for 30 seconds. At least. Longer if I want.

Then go! Hit the timer. One minute.

Write, type, thumb type, whatever.

Let it out. Get it down.

Forget perfection. Mistakes can be later corrected. Strike through the errors. Or carry on writing. No need to delete the sentence or word. Just keep on typing. I’ll make sense of it later.

What I put down doesn’t have to look pretty. Or grammatically correct. The beginnings are always clumsy, awkward and messy.

I won’t attain perfection in a minute.

Focus on the doing. Don’t look up.

Trust the body. Don’t get in its way.

Let the hands work.

Let the hands show me what my body is feeling and thinking.

My eyes witness, not dictate.

Focus on channelling those sentiments by ink or pixel. Get them down as purely as possible.

After a minute is up, one of two things could happen.

I stop at the very last second of the minute. That’s perfectly fine. One minute is one minute. That’s all I agreed to.

Or I could finish up that last bit or whatever it is I was thinking, feeling or vibing then stop. Or go back to correct any errors.

Or maybe carry on until I sate myself, sometimes an hour or two later.

The latter almost inevitably happens. I find it extremely difficult to write for just a minute. It’s too little time for anything. It inevitably spills over into the second then third and so on.

It is not without a sense of irony that I observe that even though I enjoy and love writing, I still have to trick, seduce and lure myself into getting down to it.

Once I am past that though, it is all good.

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