I took a long hiatus from writing many years ago, and couldn't even imagine getting back into doing writing again. Sure I still did an occasional poem, but the actual writing of short stories, and novels, came much later. I had no idea where to begin, wasn't even sure that I would be able to write anything larger than still doing the occasional poem.
I was encouraged by a lady friend who was interested in getting back into writing fiction, she had a background in journalism, but wanted to get back into creative writing. She owned her own business too, but wanted to write novels when she had decided to sell her business. So our writers practice group was born. At first it was just she and I, we met at Cup O' Joe's in Easton Town Center once a week. Then another mutual friend of ours joined, and then a lady who we met there at Cup O' Joe's (well the bar side Mojoe Lounge). Another two joined us from Barnes & Noble Writing Workshops. We ended up with five regulars.
We followed the rules of writing practice, set forth in a book by Natalie Goldberg called, "Writing Down the Bones." Her rules were simple:
1) Keep the Hand moving: Natalie promoted writing by hand, as it was different from typing on a computer, or typewriter. It is, you connect with a different part of your brain. It is a tactile difference, with the feel of the pen.
2) Do not stop to edit. Do not cross out, leave words misspelled,
3) Go with first thoughts-even if you can't think of anything, say, "I can't think of anything." If you say it enough, you will come up with something!
4) Go for the jugular- do not censor your writing (after all, this is practice, and you don't have to show it if you don't want to!
5) You are free to write the worst crap in the world (universe/galaxy).
That's it, very simple, straightforward and easy.
Really, once you into writing practice, it becomes easier. Think of writing practice as a warm up for working on "WIP" (Works In Process). It's like stretching before exercise, or a warm up. Which is always important.
Next installment in this series...what a writing prompt looks like.
In the first part, I discussed the rules of writing practice, and how I was inspired by Natalie Goldbergs "Writing Down the Bones."
In this segment, I'll show you what writing prompt is, or rather does. One of the ones that Natalie Goldberg put in "Writing Down the Bones," is one she calls "I remember..." This is one of the easiest ones to do. For example.
I remember the day my father died. The night before had been the last he spoke, and I laid out in the backseat of the car. I missed being able to say good bye to him, a fact I have regretted ever since."
At this point, I would continue going on with it, but for this article, I won't finish that.
Writing prompts inspire stories...or snippets that can be made into stories. Even though the above "I remember..." is based on my experience with my father, I would probably use it for a character in a story at a later date.
Another sort of prompt is pictures. In my writers group in FB, one of the ladies, posts incredible photos that are really surreal.
Any picture can be used. For the above example I would probably write something like...
Fourth of July was the day my mother gained her Independence from her health, and the declining of such. She had lived a good long life of 87 years, and that was mostly healthy.
Yes, another true story. My mother did pass away on July 4, 2012. So something like this, would bring up that memory for a writing prompt.
Music is also good for inspiration on writing prompts Writing prompts are good for not only practice writing, but can also be good for story ideas.
There are many sites on the net that are geared to help writers with prompts. Writers Digest Magazine is one of the best. Here are a few to get you started:
It began life as a innocent story of a girl and a boy in a coffee shop. The were discussing what the girl was doing (writing a novel in a month); when he exclaimed "But..you're like...hot!" Thus "Random Guy at Starbucks." Otherwise known as Random Starbucks Guy (RSG) was born.
The post became a place where us crazy writers could get together and joke, laugh, cry, and just relax and have an awesome time. A year went by, and the numbers climbed. we celebrated reaching 10k, 20k, and 30k...a baby was born, novels written and published, all the while in the background RSG was there, a testament to our accomplishments.
We thought we'd reach 50k...Then shortly after we went over 36 thousand, it was gone. Just like that! No warning by its creator that she was leaving, or that she was taking it down. No deletions by any of us Admins. The original poster was also gone! 36k plus comments lost!
So I mourn the passing of a legend, the special thread, and the impact it had on all of our lives. She will be gravely missed.