One of my all time favorite hip hop songs “The Show” by human beat boxer and ultimate entertainer Doug E. Fresh, boasts that you’ll hear “the best darn rappers of the year…” Why can’t writers be this confident and braggadocios? The one-eyed patch wearing legendary co-rapper Slick Rick says on the song, “6 minutes, 6 minutes, 6 minutes Doug E. Fresh you’re on…”
Writers when you sit down to begin a new idea or make progress on a draft you’ve been working on forever, sometimes it’s daunting. You wish there was a simple way to get started, to map out your vision and make more headway than you’ve ever made before. Well there is. I propose the 6 minute writing challenge. That’s right. Write. Let’s see how much you can accomplish in 6 minutes on the clock, putting fingertips to keypad. As soon as you start, like Doug E. Fresh — you’re on!
NOTE: This exercise is for writers who have trouble getting started. Sometimes we need to trick ourselves to doing what we know we need to do!
Here are six steps to get you going. Set your timer for 6 minutes.
- Do you really need to start with a title? NO. Sometimes starting with a title can bog you down. Skip the title and go straight to your opener.
- You need a hook. You need something to make the reader gasp or at least not yawn. Whatever you have to do — word association, color association, sounds, textures, smells, negative emotions, a harried scene — let us have it!
- If you’re writing fiction know who your players are. What do they care about? If you met them on the street would you remember them? Write a description of ONE character.
- If you’re writing nonfiction make us see it and smell it. Memories aren’t any good unless they put the reader into your shoes one word at a time.
- Set the stage. Where are we? If you can’t imagine your first setting, neither can we. Write a few lines to establish your setting.
- By now you may have passed your timed 6 minute marks. You got lost creating your opener or crafting a character description. Great add another 6 minutes!
If you keep adding 6 minutes, you’ll have increased your writing time and your word count. Masterpiece on the way!