Ready, Set, Write!

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One of the biggest problems people have with writing is getting started. A blank page (or computer screen) can be intimidating, but prewriting is a great way to overcome that intimidation. Here are some prewriting activities to help get the words flowing out of your brain and onto the page:

Listing: Listing is one of the easiest things you can do to get the ideas moving. Assuming that you have a topic, just write down the topic and jot down any ideas that come to mind. Don’t judge or censor ideas; just write them down. You can censor later! If you have a large or broad topic, listing can be a good way to break it down into categories or narrow the topic if necessary.

Mapping: For the visually-minded, a concept map or web can be a great way to organize a jumble of ideas into something that makes sense. A concept map helps show relationships between ideas.

Freewriting: Freewriting is one of my favorite ways to get the creative juices flowing. Give yourself a topic and a time limit (5 or 10 minutes usually works) and just write whatever comes into your head. Don’t pay any attention to spelling or grammar–just write. When you’re done, go back and pull out whatever ideas seem most useful. Freewriting is also a great way to get yourself “unstuck” when you’ve already begun but don’t know where to go next.

Prewriting works no matter what kind of writing you’re doing. Just grab a piece of paper and a pen and go!

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10 thoughts on “Ready, Set, Write!”

  1. I know what it’s like to sit in front of a blank page waiting for that first sentence to write itself.

    I think that writing with a pen and paper is better for productivity. There’s something about sitting in front of a blank computer screen that makes my brain shut off.

  2. A blank computer screen seem to put me to sleep at times.

    Great tips, Erin. I especially like the freewriting idea. And to think I was doing it earlier this morning. It seems to work like a charm.


  3. I keep a notebook with me at all times so I can write down ideas for new articles as I am inspired by my minister, a friend, a song on the radio, a TV commercial, whatever. That way, I always have plenty of topics to choose to write about. Sometimes, the story ideas start coming so fast that the article gets written right there on the spot. I did this in church recently.

  4. Patricia, yeah I also find the notebook to be my best friend, I get so many ideas out of random things that is crazy.

  5. Very valuable, convincing, informative and so true!!!! Please post some content on this topic. It is very enlightening.

  6. i just wanted to write about the experiences that i have been through within just a few months. on a womens point of view. who do i talk to, or where do i go to be able to do this? a lot of my experiences are on health, and emotional aspects, and one man, of course.

  7. One of my former professors used to suggest regurgitating on the paper/keyboard and just letting everything come out. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar or even if something doesn’t fit in with what you think you’re writing about. The purpose is to fill the page, once you come to the end, you can go back and clean up the grammar issues and pull the stuff apart that doesn’t fit and put it somewhere else for safe keeping.

  8. In technical writing – First, I prefer “Mapping” technique and then I go for “Freewriting” technique in MS Word rather than on notebook. While following “Freewriting” technique, I prefer not to use backspace or delete button. Later on, I edit the document for betterment.

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