Week 2: Originality – your unique gift to the world

by Jean Knighton-Fitt

There are many writers who have very much wanted to write, but cannot think of just what to write, or if they think in terms of fiction cannot think of a plot, and probably do not realize that writing exercises are not just fiddling to no purpose but are there to sharpen skill and make openings in the mind into which ideas can flow.

To write down what you, personally, do and feel each day is a rich way of entering the world of writing because it is not only writing-style practice but also the building up of a record of your life. Instead of trying to think of a plot about someone else, you can gather up and explore hundreds of already existing thoughts and happenings – which can, one day, be used as raw materials for fiction or non-fiction stories or articles.

Originality in writing is a highly prized quality, and no exercise is so capable of awakening it as remembering and exploring just how you experienced and thought about significant things that have happened to you – and how you think about them now.

“There is just one contribution each of us can make: we can give into the common pool of human experience some comprehension of the world as it looks, uniquely, to us. No one else was born of your parents, at just that time of just that country’s history; no one underwent just your experiences, reached just your conclusions, or faces the world with the exact set of ideas that you have. If you can come to such friendly terms with yourself that you are able and willing to say precisely what you think … and if you can tell a story as it appears to only you of all people on earth, you will inevitably have a piece of work that is original.” [1]

In this new week, try to continue with a short daily record of your life. But let’s add more. (If you keep your book private you will feel more comfortable about writing honestly.)

 Day 1: What country did you grow up in? Describe the history of the country at that time: political trends, social norms, educational standards, safety and security, etc.

Day 2: Describe your home – and who lived or worked in it when you were small. Tell about where you slept, washed and ate your meals.

Day 3: Write a few paragraphs about your parents – what they looked like, the relationship between them, the work they did, what they were gifted with – and perhaps poor at.

Day 4: What transport did your family use? Train, bus, taxi, car? Describe some incident involving travelling and transport.

Day 5: Tell about extended family and friends who took part in your life. What did you do together?

Day 6: Describe your primary school experience – your school, significant teachers, and school friends.

Day 7: Describe a childhood situation or event that shaped your life and values.

 


[1] Brande, Dorothea. 1934.  Becoming a Writer. Harcourt, Brace and Company. New York.

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