January 31, 2012
Pop that Page
Put some magic on the page
It’s dawn 6am and you’ve risen early just to get those ‘morning pages’ done. And you’re staring at a blank sheet. Writer, you need warm up.
Just as many painters will apply a beige wash to a blank canvas to stop it looking so virgin – you’ll need to put something down on the page – “hggahgoidihgogha” will do, just get something down, break that white, crack that ice. Next, do a non-dominant hand exercise. If you are right-handed, then pick up a pen and start to write with your left. If you’re on a laptop, then type “The quick brown fox…” with your left hand alone. If you’re left-handed, apply vice vearsa.
Enjoy the sensation of the pen flowing over your paper or the tap of your finger tips on the keyboard and don’t think too hard about what you’re writing. Let it flow. When you’ve written out the fox/dog sentence a few times, continue on with the story. Where does the fox go next? Why is the dog feeling lazy? Where are they? What does the air smell like? What sounds can you/they hear? Is it hot or cold? Wet or dry? How does the dog feel when the fox jumps over him? Does he plan revenge? Once you’ve done a paragraph or two, you’ll probably find that the creative juices are flowing enough for you to turn your attention to that story you were working on before – or read over your freewrite, there might be the kernel of something worth working on.
Now, I’m off to take my own advice…
From Ireland, Sue Healy is Literary Manager at the Finborough Theatre, London, a full-time Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Lincoln. Her book on theatre literary management is published by Routledge, December 2022.
Sue is an award-winning writer for stage, TV, and prose writer.
Her current project, a 6x60minute TV series, is under option. She is under commission with Lone Wolf Media, producers behind PBS’ “Mercy Street”, to co-write the pilot and treatment for a six-part TV series.
Her most recent stage-play, Imaginationship (2018), enjoyed a sold out, extended run at the Finborough and later showed at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. Her previous stage productions include Cow (Etcetera Theatre, 2017) and Brazen (King’s Head Theatre, 2016), funded by Arts Council England. Sue’s short plays have been performed at the Criterion (Criterion New Writing Showcase), Arcola (The Miniaturists) and Hackney Attic (Fizzy Sherbet Shorts).
Her radio work includes nine plays broadcast on BBC Radio 4 (Opening Lines winner), WLRfm and KCLR96fm.
Sue has won The Molly Keane Award, HISSAC Prize, Escalator Award, Meridian Prize and has been published in nine literary journals and anthologies including: The Moth, Flight, Tainted Innocence, New Writer, Duality, HISSAC, New European Writers. She has been writer-in-residence on Inis Oírr, Aran Islands, and at the Heinrich Boll Cottage on Achill Island. She has also benefitted from annual artist residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, and at Ginestrelle, Assisi in Italy.
An academic with a PhD in modern theatre history, specifically the Royal Court Theatre, Sue has presented her research internationally. She spent eleven years in Budapest, editing Hungary A.M. She has a PhD in modern theatre history (Royal Court Theatre) and is a UEA Creative Writing MA alumnus.
View all posts by suehealy
January 31st, 2012 at 21:06
How I wish I had seen this earlier today. And how come none of those things occurred to me? http://wp.me/p1GBe4-dl
January 31st, 2012 at 21:21
Hooray for Morning Pages! I need to get back to them. I use my blog as a sort of substitute, but I do post every day! Even if it is a short one like today…
January 31st, 2012 at 21:55
Love this, Sue. I never thought of typing ‘the quick brown fox” though. It’s worth a try when that blank screen flashes back at me. 🙂
February 1st, 2012 at 00:19
Thank you for sharing those ideas! Doing a little warmup had never occurred to me before, and it sure beats staring at a blank page and wasting valuable writing time. It’s like taking a running start at it. (The photo in this post is exquisite! Magical!)
February 1st, 2012 at 00:28
I’ve been having a problem getting started for weeks, I’m definitely going to try your advice!
February 1st, 2012 at 01:59
Great ideas! I’ll definitely add them to my toolbox. 🙂
February 1st, 2012 at 03:23
Hot shower always works for me. Don’t know why. I have designed boardgames, major corporate presentations, and worked out whole scenes. I think if I ever became a professional writer I would never be able to afford the water bill.
February 1st, 2012 at 05:10
Getting started – always the hardest thing! 🙂
February 1st, 2012 at 06:28
The dog was particularly unmotivated today.
February 1st, 2012 at 10:52
Once you start, nothing can stop you! 😉 Thanks for sharing this tip!
February 1st, 2012 at 12:36
February 1st, 2012 at 22:28
[…] suffered a couple of days of writers block http://wp.me/p1GBe4-dl I decided to follow Sue Healy’s advice so here is today’s […]
February 2nd, 2012 at 11:20
wonderful, creative advice! thanks for sharing!!
February 2nd, 2012 at 20:31
Loved the idea of writing with a non-dominant hand to change brain circuitry. Robin
February 2nd, 2012 at 23:19
I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award 🙂
February 3rd, 2012 at 23:50
I love the idea of just writing something, anything to warm up. I often do that at the beginning of a novel. I like the idea of using the non-dominant hand, but I tend to use a keyboard, lol.
These are great ideas. Thank you for sharing them.
February 4th, 2012 at 05:19
I love your pictures and your work!
Thanks for following my blog too
February 4th, 2012 at 11:30
Thanks for dropping by my blog. You have some great info on this site. Do you know if those competitions accept Australian authors?
February 4th, 2012 at 11:40
Hi Stephen, Thanks for dropping by mine! I’m glad you find it of interest. As I mentioned, I don’t have more info than what is posted on the specific sites – so if one appeals, just go to the site and see if international entries are accepted. All the best, Sue.
February 19th, 2012 at 13:36
Hi Sue, Thank you for returning the following. Your blog is a great place for a beginner like myself to visit and learn some motivational skills.
I enjoy writing and have found it to be great therapy after going through a tough few years. My youngest son was diagnosed with Osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease) the latter part of last year.
I am still not entirely sure why my creativity steers me towards the darker side of society, I don’t write from personal experience. I’ve now accepted that’s just the way it is and I go with the flow.
Finding the time to actually put pen to paper is my toughest challenge with three young children. However after finding your blog and reading your posts I have a place now that I can pop back to any time and pick up some much needed tips.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. 🙂 🙂