Wednesday, February 2, 2011

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” - E. L. Doctorow

 I have been thinking about embarking on a blog project that would make me write here with a little more frequency. I was inspired by an acquaintance's blog in which the blogger posts occasional fiction and I was considering how I could use that idea to do all of the above: improve my own writing, push me to create new, original fiction and force me to be a more regular, more interactive blogger. So I was thinking: I could post a writing prompt (which would be useful to both, myself and anyone else who wanted to try it) and then post my own result from using it. Writing prompts are open to interpretation, of course; you can use them exactly as they are written or use them to lead you to a new train of thought, open up doors to new ideas. A pretty useful tool, whether you're blocked or if you just want a warm-up before you get down to the real writing of the day (i.e., whatever you happen to be working on). The plan is to do this at least once a week, but considering I tend to get wound up in life on a regular basis, I won't overwhelm myself by promising – we'll just call it an ideal. I decided to start with an easy one for the first attempt. Here you go:

Write a description of your perfect writing day... (from Juicy Writing by Brigid Lowry)

I wake to a quiet apartment. Merlin, the Wondercat, is sleeping in his bed at the window despite the sun beaming in. I start a pot of coffee, then boot up my laptop. I stretch in my chair, then pull my legs up to my chest, lean closer to the computer and begin to read the previous day's work – a necessity to maintain continuity in my writing. The coffee is ready, so I jump up and make a cup. While I'm up, I put something instrumental (i.e. not disruptive) on the CD player and pour a little food into the cat's bowl. I hear him plop to the floor and pad along toward the kitchen, where he'll lap at his water and crunch at his food. Then it's back to my computer, where I sit sipping my coffee and reading my work until I become involved in the story enough to begin adding to it. The day slips by. Song after song plays in the background; Merlin falls asleep in some odd place, like beneath my chair or at my feet. And when the day's light begins to take on the golden quality of sunset, I stop, save my file, email it to myself and go take a walk. I stroll down to the lake, cup my hand over my eyes and watch dogs running for frisbees in the water or boats gliding along the horizon. I sit in the sand and trace circles with my finger, thinking of lines for a poem. When I have something I can use, I pull an index card and pen out of my pocket and jot it down. I lay back and breathe in the brackish scent of the lake. I feel the sun on my skin – not too hot today, but a perfect 60 degrees. From a bag I've brought along, I pull a book I am deeply attached to. I re-read the gorgeous sentences that make me gasp and as I read, I think of my own work. I get inspired and decide to walk home. Instead, I run. I run all the way back to my computer and my cat and the last dim light of sun streaming through my windows. And I go back to work, writing word after word. Sentence after sentence. Into the night.  

Feel free to try it yourself and if you like, comment with a link to the end result.

And with that, goodnight to you all. 

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