Writing Warm Up


In the same way that if I’m thinking of going for a run I stretch beforehand, I like to start a writing day with a bit of a tickle. Creative sessions often start stone cold  – point your pen towards it too soon and it’s as frustrating as trying to spread butter straight from the fridge. So, how to warm up that block? This is something that works for me…

Go to Google Images and without thinking too hard, write three words into the search bar. This morning, I used ‘future city yellow’ and ‘rain at last’, both of which worked well. Sometimes, my choice doesn’t work so I just have another go.

Select the image that intrigues you most and keep the image window open. Then give yourself ten minutes to write anything about it that comes into mind, but with one simple rule. You must focus on using words beginning with the letters ‘r’ ‘s’ and ‘b’ (or any three letters you want, I chop and change). You’re in charge so be lenient to yourself. If you find yourself wanting to use a prohibited word (ie it starts with a letter you haven’t allowed), simply waive the rule and carry on.

In fact, you can scrap the restriction in its entirety and come up with another one. I sometimes choose to focus on a specific emotion, or only one colour, or light and shade etc.

Your writing might emerge as a loosely structured poem, a piece of descriptive prose, a first-person narrative or even just a stream of consciousness. If you prefer to decide beforehand what form it will take, then go ahead. I prefer to see what happens because I like the surprise but it’s up to you. It really doesn’t matter, as long as the words flow.

Have fun! I’m off for a run…


Rebecca Gregson is a novelist and journalist, perfect occupations for someone with such a honed skill for eavesdropping. She admits that the characters, dialogue and storylines of her five published novels are often thinly disguised versions of reality, fed by her complicated family and by her time in BBC and newspaper newsrooms. Rebecca works extensively with young writers in schools, and is currently juggling freelance journalism, specialising in rural issues, with writing her sixth novel.