Posted by: Corri van de Stege | November 12, 2008

Write on Wednesdays – a warm up …


 Becca has written a pretty stiff assignment for writing today, and I’ve only just closed my work computer (having put the finishing touches to my library report, applied some beauty treatment to another report and warmed up for presentations and all that) when I stumble upon this request:

How about you?  Do you do writing exercises or warm ups?  Do you think they could be valuable?  Have you found warm up exercises helpful in some other area of your life, e.g. art, music, athletics?  

Extra Credit: Try one of Johnson’s exercises above, and post about your experiences.  Or create an exercise of your own and share it

Oh Becca, I write every single day of the week, if not reports, then e-mails or presentations or….  but I don’t think that is what you mean, do you?  No, of course not.  I think about all my good intentions, every single morning of every single week, for writing creative posts, fiction, drama, my short stories, an assignment.  Well, a lot of the time I do manage, actually.  I surprise myself, actually, thinking about this.   Often I sit with my notebook, scribble something in it, in the morning, during the day or in the evening.  However, there are also many days I simply haven’t got the energy.

Nevertheless, I am a great believer in ‘warming up’: when I get out of bed I sit on my exercise bike, listen to radio 4, try and get these creaky bones working again, and think about what I will do that day.  And, then,  all of a sudden it is evening, and the day has gone: I’ve been completely absorbed by my reports, my work, and  it’s almost time to go to bed, again,  and I ponder about the fact that, once more, I have done little ‘real’ writing. 

Of course, doing a creative writing course forces you to think about exercises and I’m writing little plays, five minute monologues, and I realise how damn difficult it is to make them sound interesting!  These are great exercises: working out your characters, what would they say on the phone, how would they react if they got bad news, or good news, how do they interact with friends, at parties, etc.   They are great exercises because they make you realise that you need to be a master at words and phrases to make them work.  Yes, I am a great believer in exercises and writing this blog is just one of them!

Thanks Becca, great stimulus and yes, absolutely, exercises and warm ups are essentia, whether for facing the rest of the day, a sport match, writing a book or short stories, a play or a poem, you need to play around with your bones, with words, with whatever it is that is essential to make you function better, work better.  A little while ago, there was an article in one of the Sunday papers that noted that if you wanted to be good at any thing at all you needed to practice, put in the hours and that means at least a thousand hours of practice before you become an expert, or an artist.  Writing is also about putting in the practice, I’m absolutely convinced of that.



  1. I’ve just completed my physical exercises for today, and feeling really good about that. I know I’d feel just as good were I to complete some writing exercises too!

  2. A very nice post. I enjoyed it a lot – but the Sunday newspaper figure about needing 1,000 hours before you become an expert or artist made me curious. I got out the calculator, and discovered that would be only 2.8 hours per day! Methinks the columnist doth underestimate.

    Either that, or every single WoW participant is an expert amd artist. Maybe we should just vote for that!

  3. Wow. I had to do the math on this one.
    One thousand hours equals 41.6 24-hour days, so we’ll say 42 full days.
    And we rarely write around the clock.
    So that’s 125 8-hour days.
    Yes, we’ve put in at least 125 eight-hour days, right?

  4. It made a such an interesting read. You made me sit up and let my thinking juices flow! Thanks!

    warming up to you and lot more…

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