The Basic Warmup That Tightens Your Prose


I am working on my anatomy homework. I have decent technique, but my knowledge of muscles and bones are in a jumble; everything must be straightened out before my compositions will have structure.

I’m Working On The Structure Of The Lower Waist

I am working slowly through The Slave from the East. Eliminating typos. My internal processors are undergoing a tune-up, which makes breathing difficult. If you haven’t been like me, you wouldn’t understand.

I am changing the support habits in my deep tissues, so that’s causing consistent turmoil.

Alexander Would Approve

If you’re writing something, warming up your mind will make the work smoother. Here is a basic turn-on for your performative instrument.

The Basic Warmup

First thing to do is skim away the clutter. Words are in your mind constantly, churning about and swimming up and down. Spill some of them out for a few paragraphs; let the words come as they may. Write down any dithering slosh you can come up with, and it can be unrelated to your project, or a summation of your last five minutes. The point is to translate your thoughts into written words.

Step The Second

Next, organize your thoughts on what will happen in your writing. Spending even a few minutes imagining the scene you are about to write will help tremendously in the execution. If you are composing a story, fix your thoughts for a brief interval on the emotion you wish the reader to absorb by the end of the final sentence.

And, The Third

Now, here is the meat of the warmup. As a preface, your performative instrument is composed of your mind (your thought process), your body (your physical housing), and your soul (your energetic self). There are three major groupings where these parts of self cross and intertwine, and which make a decided effect upon the intended audience. Therefore, we will visit each of the three hotspots in our warming-journey, and turn them each on before we get to work.

Step Three-A

First we will look at your face, your personality, your teeth and nose and forehead. But, you might argue, my forehead has nothing to do with my writing! What a horrible schmuck you are, Victor Poole, you may bellow! However, the warmup depends on attuning your performative instrument, and integrating your several parts of self to create more forceful, impactful prose. Imagine the most individual part of your face–this may be your tipped nose, your heavy eyebrows, or your particularly individual eyelashes. Take this element of your face, and write a sentence or two of nonsense with your mind fully invested in, and inhabiting the area of, this part of your physical expression.

Step Three-B

Now we make things personal; imagine a swirl of color in your ribs. The muscles sheathing over your cage here are called the interstitials; imagine that each space between your ribs is filled with magnificent, bursting color. Choose one color from deep inside your thoracic boundary, and write another sentence or two straight from this color.

Step Three-C

Finally, we will delve into the core of the physical seat of creativity, the pelvic cradle. This is the weirdest part of the warmup, but the most effective. You’re going to imagine the very base of your pelvic cradle, as having a brilliant lava lamp on the bottom. Now I want you to imagine the bright bubbles of the lamp growing up from the base of the cradle and traveling straight up your torso, down your arms, and into your tap-tap-tapping fingers. Again, write a sentence or two in this manner.

The End Of A Basic Warmup

At the end of these five steps, your mind and body will be thoroughly attuned, and awake to the imaginative process. Your writing, after you do this, will be brighter, tighter, and much crisper than before.


Bad Writing:

Ferdinand was a pretty friendly guy, when he wasn’t too hot. It was unfortunate for all of us that he decided to go out into the summer sun on that fateful, dreadful, to-be-lamented afternoon in Balcten, when the triple suns blistered down with all the angry heat of something so hot it could be thought of as ragey. And he didn’t even wear anything suited to the dire weather, which most certainly, alas, made things worse for the universe at large, which was soon to suffer his terrible wrath.

Good Writing:

There were no puddles in the vast arena, though an ocean’s worth of sweat had been shed there by the army passing through. Ferdinand knelt at the edge of the gritty dirt, and breathed in the heat and soiled air.

It was too hot to be alive out here; three blistering white suns throbbed down on his neck. He felt his wet visor steaming; it would be dry in two minutes time, and then his pebbled skin would begin to itch.

He looked up at the rim, where the magistrate sat in artificial cool, and his right nostril flared, a rose of violence budding up in his chest.

Warming Up Is Worth It

Spending five minutes getting ready to write will make all the difference in your creative output. You probably wouldn’t do a lot of hard things without some kind of preparatory ritual; give yourself the kindness of an imaginative warmup, and engage your performative instrument to reap the blessings of self-care in the form of tighter, cleaner prose.

You’re reading Victor Poole. My books are here, but this one is the friendliest. Thursday is not usually the coldest day of the week where I live.