Copywriters’ warm ups – writing rituals

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There are all sorts of stories about how the great writers warmed up. Hemingway was rumoured to sharpen 20 pencils. And Charles Dickens would arrange a series of trinkets on his desk into exactly the right order.

It may not be obvious from the above examples, but these were all warm ups. Repeated every day, they got the writer into the right state of mind to write. And just like dancers, athletes and musicians, writers — even our copywriters — do need to warm up. Not by flexing their fingers but by waking up their minds and focusing.

So, here at Oxygen, we’re sharing our tips that will help your writing and will act as your ‘five-finger exercises’ on a Monday morning.

And the secret behind all those bizarre writing rituals? They were all simply very personalised ways of engaging the body in order to get the mind to focus on the work ahead. Anything, so that sitting down to do it was easier. Hemingway wasn’t thinking about pencils, he was thinking about plot.

1. Bold Morning Americano

Yes coffee – were serious! It’s proven that a couple of cups of coffee in the morning gets your brain up to its ‘midday’ optimum speed a bit more quickly. We’re enjoying Bold Morning Americano right now.

2. Headphone heaven

Plug in to your most inspirational music. Whether it’s up-beat or chilled out, being in the mood to write is important. Your favourite sounds will get you up to speed.

3. Freewriting

Try five or ten minutes of random, creative writing to get your fingers limbered and brain creative. At journalism school our MD Steve was told to stick a pin in a random word from a random page in a dictionary. That’s also a great idea if you’re a feature writer to find something fresh to write about.

4. Read out loud…

There are some great transcription tool and real-aloud software on your computer. It can be even better for your mind if you read in the tone of voice you know you’ll be writing. For example, if it’s PR then speak like a newsreader, or if it’s an ad then speak like a celeb TV spot. Find an inspirational piece of text, or even a current news story, and read it out loud…

5. ..and edit your copy

Editing can be a great way to get the brain working. Once you’ve read out loud, take the brief transcript and improve it. Or just go straight for an edit of a previous piece of work or someone else’s.

If you’re having trouble ‘sitting down’ to write a piece of copy, why not give Oxygen a call on 01884 255999. Our copywriters are waiting!