Forum: Arts / Fiction

21 things to keep you writing (karma: 13)
By Honeymember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri Jul 28, 2006 11:12 AM
Made sticky by imadanseur (79325) on 2006-08-18 08:47:06

Hey everyone! I am recently enrolled in a Writing class, and I love it, so I thought I would share some of the things we've been learning and taking notes on.

Here are 21 things to keep your writing commitment.

1.)A Travel Journal
When you travel, write about your surroundings. Describe the rooms, buildings, streets, landscapes, people, and activities in which you are involved. Jot down dialogues and conversation. Describe yourself in your new surroundings, being sure to show how you react to the people around you.

2.)Journal Your Journaling
Choose an activity other than journal keeping and keep a journal for several consecutive days about that activity. Some examples might be: training a puppy, having a visitor, planting a garden, or searching for the perfect gift for someone. Or take the same walk on journal entry days and write about the walk each time you take it. Whatever you do, capture your thoughts and behavior as you do the activity you have chosen to journal about.

3.)Word Meditations
Locate five words from anywhere around you: your bulletin board, a newspaper headline, a shopping bag, a warning label, or a card in your wallet. Write each of the five words on a scrap of paper and put the scraps in a bowl or hat. Choose one scrap and begin to write about that word. Write for ten to twenty minutes without stopping or editing yourself.

4.)Tidbits, Odds and Ends
On some days you might just want to enter an apt phrase or description or an ironic question that comes to mind. Leave them as short paragraphs entered under dates. Someday you might collect them under one title, such as "Winter Thoughts" or "What My Mind Wandered to in Spring."

5.)Your Writing Process
If you are engaged in writing anything -- a story, poem, essay, play, or paper for school or for work -- make some entries about your writing process. Be sure to say what your feelings are as you begin, revise, and finish what you are working on. What questions do you ask yourself? What are you learning that helps you write? What do you think you are working against?

Do entries in the form of poems, even if you don't think what you are writing about is poetic. Take what might seem prose-like and chop the paragraphs into lines like a poem. When you see the writing this way, you might find that images stand out, and with some editing (such taking out extra words), you could have a rich piece of writing.

Write letters you would never mail. Tell old boyfriends what you'd like them to know now that you are older or wiser or dumber. Tell family members or friends something you never told them before. Tell a toy from childhood or a teacher from long ago about something that makes you think of them now. Try writing their letter back to you. Make a list of people and pets and objects you remember from your childhood and make entries from time to time in the form of ten- to twenty-minute freewrites (where you keep writing without editing or stopping yourself) about a person, pet or object on this list.

Sometimes unloading professional worries and goals
into a journal clears space for the writing self.

9.)Revision For the Fun Of It
Choose something you have already written in your journal. Begin to revise it, imagining an editor has asked you for a specific kind of piece -- a memory piece, a poem, an essay on bus riding -- and you have gone to your journal (inventory) to find something and develop it. Don't worry about perfection. Instead, try to make the revision into something that will interest the editor.

10.)Fellow Enthusiasts
Meet with someone who shares your interest in something -- gardening, fishing, knitting, reading, baking -- and then write about your meeting with the person and the person's knowledge of the topic.

11.)Weather Center
Become sensitive to the weather and try describing the weather in your journal entries. Put your eyes and ears to work on how the weather affects the landscape, sky, people, animals, buildings, and vehicles. Write it so that when you reread that entry, you feel as if you are in the weather.

12.)Writing From Where You Are
Write entries that describe where you are as you write. Even if you write from the same place every day, describe it as it seems to you at the moment. Things change -- what is on the desk, out the window, under your feet -- and you will become a keen observer.

Challenge yourself to use a writing prompt. For example:

*The last thing I ate before I sat down to write this entry was _______ and the next thing I might eat is______. This is because _______.

*Here are five things I should not have put in the trash and why...

*If I could describe the place I am sitting to a set designer for a movie or play, here is what I would say: _____________.

14.)The Alphabet
Make the alphabet your friend. Challenge yourself to put down your thoughts entry by entry with titles that start, with each letter of the alphabet for 26 continuous entries. Or challenge yourself to start each entry itself for 26 days with words that begin with the alphabet's letters in order. Or write 26 meditations, one each on each letter of the alphabet.

15.)Reading Lists
After you read books, write reviews of them in your journal.

16.)Library Searches
Got to library online catalogs and investigate a subject and writer. Search for some of the books, and write about your search.

17.)Responses to Writers' Groups and Writers
Write about your creative writing class, your writers' group, your reaction to a writer when you are reading.

18.)Radio or TV
Turn on the radio or TV for 30 seconds. Write about what you heard.

19.)Other People's Entries
Invent journal entries your friends or relatives or bosses might write. If you are a fiction writer, invent journal entries your characters might write.

20.)Your Journal-Writing Employee
Invent a persona for your journal -- a character who is employed as a journal writer for you, whose job it is to make entries on a schedule you propose, someone whose creativity in dreaming up new ways to approach the genre will be rewarded. Write the job description in your journal. Write the interview with the job applicant. Assign this persona a wardrobe, a history, a reason why he or she wants this job. Write your new employee's entries. Let him or her react to the world and the people around him or her.

21.)Be Creative
Use the journal to write whatever it is you want to write! There is no wrong way to keep a journal; it is for your eyes only or for the eyes of exactly who you want to see it.

8 Replies to 21 things to keep you writing

re: 21 things to keep you writing (karma: 4)
By Louisemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Jul 29, 2006 07:36 AM
Something that helped me -

Cut out pictures from magazines or art books. Stick them in your journal and write about the picture. Either describe the room, the person, just what's actually IN the picture - or make something up around the picture. Say you choose a picture of two people sitting on a bench. What are they saying to each other? If they're not talking, why aren't they talking? How did they get there? Where will they go afterward?

re: 21 things to keep you writing (karma: 1)
By dancergirl1212member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Aug 03, 2006 09:38 PM
Yaaaay, such good tips! I just like to write for fun, and sort of hope to be a writer someday, but peoples tell me my work is pretty good. :? I don't really think so, I just like to write! :)
Anyhoo, I tried the Word Meditation today, and I think it came out pretty well! I chose "Alaskan", found on a post card an old friend sent me from her cruise. It ended up a poem, and I think it came out okay; I'm not the best with poems! Here goes:
If I were Alaskan
What would my life be like?
Would I wrestle with polar bears
And eat popcorn
As I watched the Northern Lights?
And might I find
Some great bird take flight
Over a snowy tundra
Painting pictures
For the mind to wander on
And ponder on
Until I grow weary?
Thinking of weariness,
Is it difficult to trudge
Through mountains of snow
Or is it some stereotype
Told by those who don't know?
Speaking of knowing
How would I know my neighbors
If they were really Eskimos
Who lived in igloos far out of town
And fishedout of holes cut in ice?
What if they owned a grey wolf puppy
Who licked their dishes clean
And might get his nose
Stuck to the plates?
And would looming glaciers
Grow outside my bedroom window?
Maybe I would know
If I were Alaskan.

Didja like it? I didn't think it as too... "meditate-ey", and I don't think it focused too much on the word, but it's the first day.
AAAW, my puppy's dreaming, she's barking in her sleep at all the dream squirrels. And maybe catching bunnies. (Only in her dreams!)
Well, that was irrelevant, but oh well. :)
Meredith! :D
re: 21 things to keep you writing
By Armwarmermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Aug 13, 2006 06:29 PM
I am SO going to try these.

You've motivated me to start writing again! I haven't written all summer, and it's depressing. Thanks so much. Karma as a token of my appreciation.

re: 21 things to keep you writing
By Krystalmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Aug 18, 2006 06:46 PM
Thanks so much for posting this! I'm in the process of writing books and getting them published, and lately I haven't written anything because I just have no desire. But with this list it'll help me write a little bit every day, even if it isn't on my novel.

re: 21 things to keep you writing
By myessence_dancer
On Sun Jul 22, 2007 09:34 PM
I love doing things that make me see the world differently, and I loved doing these things especially the word meditations and weather.
re: 21 things to keep you writing
By dancergirl6member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Dec 06, 2007 03:49 PM
yay! i've totally been stuck lately so thanks! these will definatly help!
re: 21 things to keep you writing
By heartofglass
On Fri Feb 29, 2008 09:14 PM
Thank you! This is a wonderful post! I hope you don't mind if I print it up and stick it on my wall or on the back of my notebook or something.
re: 21 things to keep you writing
By the5th
On Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:42 PM
great post! really good tips, thank you for sharing!


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