Monday, October 12, 2009

Ready to Write Prompt #1

As a follow-up to yesterday's Writing From Life workshop, several students decided that getting regular writing prompts might keep them going.

I doubt I'd be able to provide them daily, but I'm offering them 3 or 4 times a week (with the offer of occasionally 'critiquing' one of the pieces that result).

Guidelines for using these the prompts:
1. Don't read the prompt until you're ready to write.
2. Don't take time thinking about the prompt, just pick up a pen (or open a new file on the computer) and start writing.
3. Follow Natalie Goldberg's (Writing Down the Bones) 'rules':
Keep the hand moving / Don't correct or edit as you go / Forget about punctuation, grammar, spelling, etc. / Go where the writing leads / Keep the hand moving...
4. Write for the set time, then stop.
5. Re-read the piece that results, and highlight the strongest line, most compelling idea, interesting phrase or word... This allows you to see just how well you write, and prevents you from dwelling on whatever weakness you might identify. This helps you become a more analytical critic rather than a harsh judge.

So, for writers who wants something to keep them going: Ready to Write Prompt #1

1. Wherever you're sitting now (don't pick a 'better spot'), look around and list seven things that you see.

2. Quickly, again without thinking, pick one of the items and begin writing about it, any occasions, its description... just go where the writing leads... for seven minutes.
3. When you're done, re-read the piece and highlight specific phrases/ideas/words/images that you feel are particularly strong.
4. If another of the individual items have a strong pull on you, write about that for seven minutes, then repeat #3.
5. File these pieces until you feel driven to either build them up into something bigger, incorporate them into a work in progress, or revisit them and have a fresh look at the wonderful ideas/images and phrases that you came up with.

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