Taking a Little (Writing) Detour
How is the writing coming along this year? Are you writing every day and meeting those writing resolutions for 2015? Or perhaps you are in edit mode. If not that’s okay. When we all get together and talk, the focus tends to be on finishing a full manuscript. Obviously this is key when working in an industry and on a website where a full finished manuscript is the ultimate goal, but I like to think of it like running a marathon – sure the long runs, the training and building up to that 26.2 miles has to be you main focus – but every now and then, it’s nice to throw out the training plan and mix it up. So in an effort to change it up, I’m coming at you with one of my favorite writing exercises. It is basically the opposite of those long distances, those high word count days and goals, and instead has you just live in the moment, and do your own thing. The point of this exercise is to just write – no filter, no goal, just as inspiration hits you. There are a few assumptions made here about what you may have access to, so feel free to modify as you need to.
Step 1: Find yourself some sort of musical device that will allow you to shuffle a collection of random songs – preferably songs you haven’t listened to recently (headphones are recommended if you have a roommate). I would recommend steering clear of a radio station, but if you need a more random selection of music than what you’ve got, go to Spotify or Pandora you can sign up for free and there is A LOT of music out there.
Step 2: Sit yourself down somewhere comfy with a pen/pencil and paper. I’m a purist so feel free to take out your laptop if you must – although, on a side note, I highly recommend keeping in pen/pencil writing shape. I’ve recently taken to writing on the Notes app on my iphone, which is fine and good when inspiration strikes – but I love paper (this notebook is my favorite paper) and a good pen.
Step 3: Start playing music and just write WHATEVER comes to your head when you first hear the song. There are no limits to what you can write about, whatever you feel, maybe the lyrics are telling a story, maybe it’s the tune, maybe you think of kitchen sinks when you hear Metallica – whatever. I can’t emphasize enough, do not edit yourself, just let go. When the song changes turn the page and start all over again. Ideally, the new page doesn’t relate to the last, but if you’re on a roll, just go with it.
**Possible additional challenge – add a timer, and give yourself a minute (or maybe two) and only one minute of the song and to write your vignette.**
So I love this particular exercise for several reasons, the first being that I tend to get bogged down in and stuck in a quicksand in a dark cave with whatever I might be working on, and I need something to break-up the monotony and get the creative juices flowing again. Also, I have what can only be described as an eclectic collection of music, so bouncing around all kinds of music, classical, 80’s pop, 50s, swing and country – is fun and stirs up all kinds of fun (and funny) things in your head. Plus, I like the timer challenge since it doesn’t give you any time to get sucked into the quicksand. I also like the idea that the music is feeding the inspiration. So there you have it folks.