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 Write Before You Look 
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Post Write Before You Look
Title: Write Before You Look
Author: Angela Booth

Summary: Stuck on a writing project? Or is there something you'd
love to write, but you can't get up the nerve to start? Here's
how to be the writer you already are.

Category: Writing

Words: 1230

Write Before You Look

Copyright © 2003 by Angela Booth

Are you stuck on a writing project? Or is there something you'd
love to write, but you can't get up the nerve to start? In over
25 years of writing, I've found that writing happens on the
page. Just start writing. You can't do anything until you begin.

Other writers make the same point. In his book *Immediate
Fiction, A Complete Writing Course*, author Jerry Cleaver
recommends that when you're writing, "you leap first and look
later". Cleaver believes that when you're creating, you should
let your imagination do the heavy lifting. Daydream. Pretend.
Let your imagination lead you where it wants to go. You will
write more, and reach places you can’t get to in any other way.

Writing, like any creative endeavor, requires that we use both
sides of our brain, the left and the right. Our left brain is
the dominant partner, and while we're awake, our left brain is
active. This means that when we think: "No way, I could never
write a book" or "I could never write a screenplay" we're taking
the word of our left brain.

The creative impulse came from our creative right brain, but our
left brain, which deals in realities, immediately said: "Whoa!
No, you've no evidence for that. Couldn’t do that --- you've
never done it before. Wouldn’t work. Silly idea."

Take a moment. Think. How often have you taken the word of your
left brain? Decide today, that whenever you get a creative
impulse, the very impulse which gave you that idea also knows
how to make it work, so all you have to do is put your body in
the place where that can happen. The creative impulse comes to
all creatives, so if you get an impulse to take a photograph, or
paint, or cook, or sew a scarf --- follow through. For writers,
the place to follow through is with a pen in hand, or in front
of a computer screen.

Here's a process to use to become familiar with writing before
you look. Try it. It will feel unfamiliar at first, and you'll
worry about whether you're doing it "right". Be assured that as
long as your body is relaxed, your left brain is (more or less)
out of the way, and you're freeing your creative right brain.

=> The Write Before You Look Process

==> One: Clear your mind

From the moment you wake up in the morning, your left brain is
in charge. This side of your brain does a great job of getting
you where you need to be, and helps you to fit into society, but
it's not creative.

To allow your right brain's creative impulses to get your
attention, you need to quiet your left brain. Any repetitive
task will do this. Knitting and needlework are good. So are
walking and driving, and taking a shower. Listening to classical
music also works.

You can't always be moving around, so it's best to learn a sit-
down process. The easiest way to clear your mind is to
progressively relax every part of your body. If you've ever done
any stress-reduction courses, you'll know that in progressive
relaxation you focus on your body from your toes to the top of
your head, and gently relax all your muscles. Just take each
part of your body in turn, and tell each set of muscles to relax.

When you first learn this process, it can take around ten
minutes to become completely calm and relaxed. After a few
weeks, you'll be able to do it in less than a minute. You can
speed up the process by mentally saying "relax" to each part of
your body. In time, you'll become as limp as cooked spaghetti
whenever you say the magic word to yourself.

If you're not familiar with progressive relaxation, here's a
complete course:

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/har/les1.htm

==> Two: Write down your creative impulses

When you're completely relaxed, gently focus on your breathing.
You'll find that your breaths gradually deepen more and more,
and that they slow right down. This is the effect you want.

When your breathing has slowed, keep focusing on your breathing,
but also think about what creative work you'd like to do. What
would you like to write, if you could?

Just daydream for five minutes. If a creative idea comes to you,
write it down, then drift back into your daydream.

You may not get any creative ideas while you're daydreaming.
They may come later as you're doing something else. This is
fine. Your right brain doesn’t "think" in language. It uses
feelings and emotions to communicate. Your left brain translates
these right- brain impulses into words. When you first start to
actively try to get creative ideas, the communication between
the two sides of your brain is slow. It will become more rapid
the more you practice.

==> Three: Follow through on an impulse immediately if you can

Got a creative idea? Great.

If you can, follow through on it immediately. If you can’t,
write down enough of the idea so that you can recall it easily
later in the day. Vital: also write down any images which are
floating through your mind. What mental pictures do you see?
These are additional parts of the creative impulse that your
left brain hasn't yet translated into words. Capture them now by
writing them down.

You can work with intensively with your right brain images by
using Win Wenger's Image Streaming process. Here's how ---

http://www.debateit.net/improvethought/imagestreaming.htm

Some writers find that they can immediately write an entire 2000
word article, or a chapter of a book after they clear their
mind. This process is very powerful.

==> Four: Drop judgments --- enjoy making a mess

You've followed through, and you're writing. However, it’s
messy. It doesn’t completely make sense.

Excellent!! This is exactly what you want. It's your guarantee
that the idea you're developing is original. All creation starts
with a mess.

Work on the project again tomorrow. Keep working. Chances are
that you're making a creative breakthrough. Remember it's your
left brain that's making these early judgments. You can safely
ignore them.

==> Five: Never assume that you "know" anything

You've cleared your mind, and when you read through your
creative ideas later you get scared to death. You can't do this.
You can't write a complete book, or submit your article proposal
to Redbook. And you surely can’t dig that manuscript out of your
bottom drawer and whip it in shape to send to a publisher.

Of course you can. Remember, your left brain is NOT creative.
Clearing your mind so that you can let your creative right brain
work will convince you that you DO have lots of creative ideas.

Unfortunately, your left brain doesn’t trust them. That's OK.
Remember that the part of your brain that's belittling all your
ideas is your left brain.

Ignore it. Trust your creative impulses and follow through.
Clear your mind first, to muffle your left brain. Then let your
right brain do the creative work.

Write before you look. That's the entire process. Try it. You'll
amaze yourself.

Remember: the creative impulse that gave you the idea, also
knows how to carry out the idea. So if you've got an impulse to
write a book, write it. You already have everything you need to
do it.

*** Resource Box ***

To read more articles by Angela Booth, visit the Digital- e Web
site--Information for writers and creatives. Ebooks, free
ezines, Creatives Club. Love to write? Turn your talent into a
business! http://www.digital-e.biz/

About the author:
Writer, author and journalist Angela Booth has been writing
successfully for print and online venues for 25 years. She also
writes for business. On her Web site http://www.digital-e.biz/
she conducts workshops and courses for writers.

This article was posted by permission.


Thu Jul 12, 2007 4:04 pm
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