Writing Calling

Writing, writing, writing, everyday something

Month: April, 2014

Week 5 – Blocks to starting to write

There are three attitudes that a would-be writer needs to dispense with before he or she can settle into the lifestyle of a writer:
• Over humility about age or lack of social standing, experience or education
• Unwillingness to write with as much emotional connection as is needed to make a story come alive
• Refusal to set out unless their effort is guaranteed of success

To become a writer you need to let go of your inferiority complexes, share your feelings with the paper rather than make your story something completely other than your inner world, and say ‘Boo!’ to your fear of what you or others will think if the publishers don’t accept it. Writers have been known to paper their walls with rejection slips before they finally ‘make it’ into print. Perhaps one day you will reach the public with your writing, perhaps not. But if you love writing, get on and write because that is what you need to do; that is what will bring a special type of fulfilment. Original drafts are never perfect anyway; they always need lots of editing, so give up trying to get it right first time around.

Day 1: Thoughtfully examine the bulleted items at the beginning and write down honestly how you relate to them.
Day 2: Almost everyone has at least one significant memory involving their hair. Do a 15- minute timed writing on ‘Hair’ trying to allow yourself to express your emotions with meaningful verbs and accurate nouns.
Day 3: List and describe in some detail 10 things that you personally find ‘beautiful’.
Day 4: Describe and list 10 things, issues or people that are big challenges for you.
Day 5: On a separate piece of paper, write a letter to yourself about how you would like your life to be in ten year’s time. Pop it into an envelope addressed to you and put it away in some safe place to be retrieved in the distant future.
Day 6: Think of five synonyms for ‘thank you’. Write down 10 things from the past two weeks that you are grateful for, and describe your feelings about them.
Day 7: Review your week, its successes and failures and how you feel about life right now.

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Week 4 – Stream-of-consciousness writing

Continue with your daily record, but move, this week, into an exploration of the harnessing of the right brain for your writing.

Day 1: By time you were 12-18 months old you had probably watched people using pens and pencils, and knew they were for making marks on paper. When you found yourself alone with these two things together you likely decided to experiment with the physical power of making your own marks on life. So now … grab a piece of paper – big if you can, otherwise your writing book – and a pen, pencil or crayon. Using your left hand to get you back into the vulnerable state of early youth, relive that pre-memory experience of making your mark, and just scribble. Let go. Enjoy yourself and see how much of the page you can cover. Then, in your writing book, record the feelings that bubbled up: the power of you and your pen over the paper. (You may, later, like to colour in some of the shapes!)

Day 2: After a few years you began to realise that squiggles on paper were a form of communication … there was a way of getting mind-power over the paper. When I was six my mother kept me back from starting school because I’d been ill, but I desperately wanted to write. My big sister of nine was learning cursive writing – ‘real writing’ we called it – and every day I insisted she mark my writing attempts – with a ring around whichever were ‘real’ letters.
*As an exercise, today, use your left hand to write down what you remember about learning to write.

Day 3: ‘Stream-of-consciousness’ writing is a primary and important skill to develop. It means writing down what streams through your mind, without stopping to ponder or criticise it.
Imagine it like this: as you write the pen draws the words out of your hand, which draws them from your arm … your shoulder … your neck … your head. As long as you keep the pen moving your mind will continue to flow freely down onto the paper. But you must keep on writing. If you suddenly go blank don’t stop to sit and think, just keep the pen moving by writing “I don’t know what to write…” till another thought pops up. Stopping dries up the flow. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar or following any special order.
*Take up your pen now and freely write what streams through your mind at the thought of ‘Teeth’ OR ‘speed’ OR ‘grandparents”.

Day 4: From now on give yourself 10 minutes for this sort of exercise. A time-constraint will help remove the counter-productive tendency to stop and think how to write ‘well’. Remember at school, in the last 10 minutes of an exam, how the time pressure knocked out all unnecessary wondering and wordiness? And you just wrote like your life depended on it. Well, write like that. (If you can use a timer you will not be distracted by having to keep looking at your watch. It’s tick-tick-tick will help keep you moving!)
*Do 10-minutes of timed writing on ‘bathing’ OR ‘earning power’.

Day 5: Do 10-minutes of timed writing on ‘contemporary music’ OR ‘make-up’.

Day 6: A helpful variation of this exercise is to take a topic like “I feel happy when….”, and write for five minutes, then switch to “I feel unhappy when….” OR “I like people who….” and “I dislike people who….” Writing in this way helps you get to the ‘under-belly’ of your thoughts and feelings.
*Choose one of those alternatives and write for ten minutes.

Day 7: Today consider where you have arrived in your attempts to write regularly. How are you feeling about it? Write down your thoughts and identify problems you have encountered. Write down ideas for how you can get through or around those problems