Actors begin rehearsals with a physical and vocal warm-up. This helps them to clear the body and the mind of daily distractions and tensions, focus them on the space they are in and prepare them for the task in hand. Writers also need strategies to clear themselves of the clutter and access the open channel between the mind, the hand and the sheet of paper (or the screen). This might include some sort of physical activity; a friend of mine, who writes at home but needs to separate her work from the washing-up, does the morning domestic routine, then goes out for a walk and eventually ‘walks to work’. If I am working with a group, I will generally start with some sort of physical activity or game. Even then, the blank page (or screen) can still be sitting there, waiting for the words that refuse to come, and some form of kick-start writing activity can be useful. What follows are a range of exercises designed to stimulate the ‘writing-muscle’. The first few are general ‘warm-up’ exercises. I will then move on to ‘introductory’ exercises for work that will be dealt with in greater detail in the following chapters. The chapter may be used in a range of ways according to your needs, for example: ● As a template for an introductory course in playwrighting. ● As a menu from which to construct a one-off workshop. ● As a stimulus for a group-devising process. ● As a range of ‘getting-going’ exercises for when you have come back
from your morning walk.