Friday, November 4, 2011

Writing Exercise Number One

1.  Today, we begin our series of writing exercises. Practice like a concert violinist. Practice like a pro football player. Practice like a ballerina. But practice your writing skills on a regular basis.

Freewriting Exercise:

A Freewrite Exercise may seem like pure nonsense to you, but it can bring interesting results and ideas for future stories/essays/articles.

1. Pick a word from a book, a dictionary, thesaurus--anywhere. Close your eyes, point your finger and use the word where that finger lands.

2. Set a timer for ten minutes

3.  Start writing whatever comes into your mind and don't stop until the timer announces the end of your ten minutes.

It may be gibberish at the beginning, but the brain kicks in and sometimes you end up with good results. Occasionally, it will continue to be gibberish, but that's OK. I often start with words that rhyme with the word chosen and an idea will come from one of those. The randomly selected word may trigger a long-buried memory of an actual event or experience. Or it might give you the beginning of a fiction piece, or at least the bones of a story to be fleshed out later.

Try one of these Random Word Freewrites each morning as a warm-up to whatever your writing project is for the day. Ten minutes is all it takes, and it will be time well-spent. My critique group does this exercise and sends the result to the rest of the group. One little word brings interesting and varied responses.

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