What does this have to do with writing, you ask?
Well, I'm glad you asked.
I have been teaching again for the past couple of weeks. Getting back into the routine is always a little hard. My writer-brain vs my teacher-brain and all that. I find myself asking, "But when do I get to write?"
When I teach a writing lesson, we always start with a warm-up. I learned this technique from a workshop I went to years ago taught by a guy named John (or maybe Jim.....sorry) from New Hampshire (where lots of cool stuff in terms of the teaching of writing happens). Anyway, I don't give a prompt. Kids just pull out their writing books and write for seven minutes. The goal is to write seven lines in seven minutes. We are not going for perfect, here. We are going for, "Hey, brain, wake up! Start thinking like a writer! Start putting your ideas into written words."
When we warm up, we always warm up to music*. There's a lot to be said for white noise, blocking out the sneezing, pencil breaking, paper noise, feet shuffling, etc. I play the same piece of music each time we write.
I have done this for 10 years.
What has happened for the students is that after a few weeks of this, they are trained that when they hear the music, they just put pencil to paper and let the ideas come. Imagine the kids I have worked with for a few years.....?????? Yep. I come in the first day, play the music and they are writing animals! Writing machines!
Now, imagine what it does for the writing teacher, who completes (with the students) every assignment she asks of them.....including warm-ups..........Yep! I was a writing animal, too! The music came on and at once, I was bombarded with new, coo-el ideas and began writing freely, without angst, without worry about when I was really going to get to write. Those seven minutes, though short, were bliss.
Seven minutes isn't much, but when you are a busy mom-teacher-writer-wife-person, you take what you can get.This is my dog, Mikey, who salivates when he hears cheese being unwrapped.
Every writing moment is precious.
Any strange writing rituals that make it easier for you to write?
*The music, if you are wondering, comes from my Riverdance CD. We listen to track 3, the Countess Cathleen/Women of the Sidhe, then move into track 4, the lament of Cu Chulainn. It's weird because usually I find music too distracting to write to.........