Thursday, November 17, 2011

Writing Exercises

Over the years, I've both attended classes and read books that purported to teach one how to write, or, if one already knew how to write, how to either instill discipline to the writing process, develop a personal style, publish something that's already been written, etc., etc. Like many explorations and excursions in my life, I would typically go gang-busters for a month or so afterwards, only to have the enthusiasm eventually peter out, to be replaced by some other new adventure.

This morning I opened up my Blog and was somewhat aghast to see I've not posted anything for almost two weeks and what I have posted in the last month or so has been relatively weak. In all seriousness, I do have things to write about; in fact, several things, many of which are in mid-production and floating somewhere on my hard drive. I also tend to wake up in the middle of the night thinking about a dream I just had and say to myself, "Wow, you should write about THIS!" But, by the time I get around to sitting down at my computer, either the ability to recall the dream or the desire to write about it has vanished; replaced by thoughts of "What is on my to do list for today?"

I do have many things I'd like to accomplish today; but, I told myself while out walking Lucy this morning that I'd allow myself until 10:00 am to "dork around" on the computer with email, Facebook, checking out various web sites, reading the morning paper, etc. After doing much of these things (except reading the paper), I clicked on my Blog and thus began this particular entry/train of thought.

My first inclination after seeing that my last post was Friday November 4th was to go to my stock pile of past writing pieces and post something, anything, that appeared (to me at least) to be relatively interesting. Of course, in fact, this is something like cheating; somewhat similar to someone using a picture from many many years ago to represent what they look like today. While browsing through these files, I came across a spreadsheet I haven't opened up in a very long time. The idea came from a class I took at Duke way back in 2004; a bunch of random words listed in columns. For the life of me, I can't remember now if the words are supposed to follow any sort of pattern and I don't know if I came up with them or they were provided by the instructor (likely a bit of both). What I do remember is, you're supposed to put each of the words on a slip of paper, put all of the slips into some sort of container, and, when you want to write but you are stuck for ideas, pull out two or three of the slips of paper and free write for fifteen or twenty minutes about whatever comes to your mind. So, pulling a few random words of my spreadsheet by way of example, I might end up with "Hay" "Soar" and "Murder" as prompts.

And, speaking of free writing, I also recall from a book I read that it is a MUST to sit down every day and simply free write. Whether it be from prompts or just what may be running through your brain, you must do it to keep in shape; similar to what working out at the gym does for your body. This is easier said than done; it's a challenge not to get distracted. Case in point, as I'm writing this, Mr. B just came home from his morning meeting and the dog is wigging out. He's going to come into the kitchen soon and start talking to me (I have 10 more minutes to go before it's 10:00 am!) and I'll, well, peter out.

I just remembered another writing exercise; it also uses prompts but instead of random words, the prompts are statements or questions, such as, "Your first car". Or, "What makes you happy?" I've actually written and posted quite a few pieces from this exercise but I think my stash of prompts has gone missing so I'll need to recreate them.

Anyway, this is a long way of saying that, since I can't seem to come up with anything really fresh and intriguing to write about on my own, I think I'm going to go the writing exercise route on this Blog for a while. There may be some weird stuff that comes out of it, I'll warn y'all in advance!

Ok, time's up for now!

Mrs. B

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

maybe you should use the 30 day photo challenge as a writers challenge. surely you can write about random subjects for 5 minutes. like a self portriat - or a toy, or a bug, or the color yellow!