Like most writers, I have a tendency to procrastinate. The column that is due on Monday at noon gets started on Sunday afternoon. There is nothing wrong with writing on Sundays, I find it to be my best time to write. The hard part is is starting to write, that is just killer for me.
When I first started writing years ago, I used to be troubled with getting the creative juices flowing. The juices were plentiful, it was just the access was hard. I found the more I wrote, the easier it was to get started.
I have an exercise that serves to get my creative engine started and takes only 3-5 minutes, often leading to a written piece. Whether using a pencil and paper or a computer, the principal is the same. Set aside a short period of time, such as 3-5 minutes and have some sort of time piece to keep track. From the start, begin writing and do not stop until the time period has ended. Take no thought of what you are writing, just write. Punctuation, grammar and spelling can be corrected later. Just write. It is amazing what a quick, simple exercise like this can do.
This type of writing is not new. James Joyce, a modernist writer and one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, was a pioneer of a literary form known a stream of consciousness, found most notably in his work, Ulysses. In this form, the author attempts to develop the thoughts of a character, or interior monologue, taken from their perspective by allowing any conscious thought that comes to mind to be written down. Joyce’s influence was felt by many such as William Faulkner and Virginia Woolf.
Being a wine writer, the term terroir is one that is in my writings with great frequency. It refers not only to the ground vines are grown in, but the whole process of handling the fruit and juices all the way to the finished product. Terroir has been expanded to refer to the waters where oysters are found in the Chesapeake Bay, so it is not a stretch to refer to the mind as an intellectual terroir. As with the ground of a vineyard, one must concentrate not only on what is taken in through reading, but also how the development of the mind bears fruit through writing. Using a form of the modernist’s stream of consciousness to start a flow of creativity provides a valid mental exercise for the writer and a depth for the piece being written.
It was once said (or written): Writing, no matter how bad it is, can be edited, but there is no way to edit a blank page.