Saturday, October 1, 2011

I remember...

One thing about being a writer -- the greatest advice that we all have received is simple enough.

Write what you know.

How easy this seems at first.

Sit down. Start vomiting words onto the page or onto the computer. Eventually, you will have a work of genius, because, as the saying goes, if you give x number of monkeys typewriters and x number of years to pound away on them, they will produce the collected works of Shakespeare.

Right?

Maybe....

Me, myself, am a firm believer in the writer within, so when faced with as simple a writing exercise as the one that inspired my previous blog post, I went with it.

The mission? Write for ten minutes, non-stop, using the phrase "I remember". Keyword? NON-STOP.

If you get hung up, start over. Keep going until you've exhausted all avenues. I don't care if you remember what color t-shirt your 4th grade bus driver was wearing. Write it all down. The point of this exercise is to get your thoughts moving. It doesn't matter what you remember, so long as you remember. It's food for the writer's soul.

What's more, I'm discovering it's fuel for the memory, period.

Some things that I've done to "jog" my "I remember" sessions:

  1. Music - any and every album I listened to during a particular time period I'm interested in writing about. This works especially when I haven't heard the music since the time period in question. Try it. You'll be amazed at the results. Listen to the music while you work this exercise, starting with the phrase: "I remember".
  2. Cluster mapping - pick something and build on it. Put an idea on the center of a blank page. Circle it. Branch out. Follow your thoughts. Build on them. Don't stop until you have several solid ideas that will lead you to solid pieces as a writer. Never underestimate the value of a cluster map when given a valuable brainstorming idea such as "I remember".
  3. Lists - "I remember" combined with lists as a writing technique is a powerful prompt in and of itself. How many ideas can you come up with in ten minutes just by creating a list of sentences that start with the phrase: "I remember"?
This is the time of year that I find myself nesting in, looking for topics, and falling prey to the instinct of the writer within me.

What do you do to sustain the writer within? What writing prompts do you rely on to keep you creative and focused on your craft?

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