Writing Exercises

That is why I hope you can…sit for some time everyday (if only for a half hour, though two hours is better and five is remarkable and eight is bliss and transfiguration!) before your typewriter,—if not writing, then just thoughtfully pulling your hair. If you skip for a day or two, it is hard to get started again. – Brenda Ueland in If You Want To Write

The above is an exerpt that’s often repeated almost everywhere, in different ways and words. And I agree, and in a way, I try to live by it, although what I usually do is a bit of journal writing, and not usually leisurely. Obviously, I’ve been wanting to get into (fiction) writing again, and have been looking around for various things to write. Unfortunately, I never seem to exactly get into writing; whenever I sit down and look at writing ideas (I loved writing collabs while they were popular!), I try to start but I end up thinking, oh no, I can’t possibly write about this. Which is, I suppose the very thing Brenda Ueland is always railing about in this book.

In any case, I’ve seen a lot of ideas and websites online that are pretty nifty, such as Oneword, 100 Words, and numerous drabbles contests and communities. Of them all, I like Oneword best; I think the pressure of writing something related to a word in sixty seconds make me just plain write, and for some reason I always feel like I like what I end up writing in these exercises. For example, for Oneword today I wrote this:

the window pane was brown, smooth and hard against my elbows, while i looked outside and dreamt of sunny blue skies and dark blue water, of smiles and sunshine and brown skin. it made me think of happiness, of joy, of laughter and madness, of the days when

And I liked what I wrote. It’s not connected to anything other than a single scene, a single feeling, a single event, made up as I wrote (pane—window pane—brown—people usually lean on it while looking outside—scene looks like person is daydreaming—nice daydream—sunny— and so on and so forth). I like the way I wrote it, more specifically.

I’ve come to the conclusion a long while ago that the short pieces of, uh, shortshorts that I write in a style similar to the one I used above, is what I personally loved writing when I was writing creatively (as opposed to journal writing). (See here, although I mean to move that to somewhere else… not yet sure where, though. :P ) However, I’ve felt very, very torn about this, and continue to feel so up to now. Almost everywhere I read, it’s always about using verbs, and action, and to cut less on adjectives and adverbs. An opinion and guideline that I actually agree with. But whenever I try to get myself to write in it, I usually don’t like what comes out.

Or maybe it’s just that I really am out of practice. Sigh. I suppose the style I like is useful and pretty for shortshorts and poetry, but never for something more substantial.

Moo, back to square one?