We all need a quick splash of water in our faces in the morning–think of this as waking your creative spirit!
It’s less than a week since I returned from a writer’s retreat in the Adirondacks, in a place so remote you won’t hear a phone ring or a TV, but you’ll hear the loons call as you drift off to sleep. It was the perfect atmosphere for many of us to reconnect with the words and images in our heads, and we had a number of talented workshop leaders giving us prompts and brief exercises each morning to help us find that overgrown pathway to our own creative attics. By Friday morning, we could all hear the wind blow, and we were writing about moments and memories we rarely thought of.
I discovered that in the past years of finishing a novel (which is different from the early stages of developing it) while doing multiple jobs each week just to pay the bills, I had lost the ability to simply write…
My workshop guide was a wonderfully lyrical poet, writer and editor from the Baltimore Review named Lalita Noronha. Each morning she served us seemingly easy challenges to just respond to a prompt, an idea, or an approach—and to me it felt like riding a bicycle with ice skates through a lake. Despite years and years of writing all kinds of content, copy, and prose, I simply had no idea where to start.
The beauty of these exercises is they are very simple, quick, and they help you find new starting points. If nothing else, you have written something fresh.
So here, I thought I’d try a little experiment of posting a 10-Minute Workshop Exercise for you to try. Take only the first 5 minutes to write and then put it down to get some coffee—this is meant to tap into your intuitive side. Then sit down and read out loud what you have read.
Post yours in the comments—let’s see what we get!
TODAY’S EXERCISE: In one paragraph, describe one of your first activities this morning—and change the ending in one sentence.
Before I can even start my day, the dog has to go out. Now in her senior years, thankfully, my once little pug sleeps in most mornings so I can take my time to get dressed and brush my teeth before reaching for the leash. She needs to ease into her morning routine too, and once we hit the street, she meanders from side to side, sniffing, as if actually considering using my neighbor’s lawns for a toilet. But we both know where we are going, and I tug at the leash, leading her further down the hill towards the open field just around the bend. As we reach the familiar curve I can see crows swooping around our usual tree, a few of them landing and then taking off again. A man’s shoe is standing upright in the grass, and a body is attached to it.
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