Sunday, September 30, 2012

Detail Abstractions

Kahlil Gibran wrote, “Your soul is often a battlefield upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite.”

This example reveals an opportunity the writer did not take. When Gibran began his notion of the soul, he used the metaphor of a battlefield and then explained about waging war inserting four abstractions. He could have defined each by example.

We may connect with his reasoning but details and pictures in words help us to understand his meaning of reason, judgment, passion, and appetite.

As writers we need to communicate to the reader our point of view through metaphor, imagery and details. Because we come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, the above words create different reactions. Showing examples of complex emotions  gives the reader a clue to our intentions.

One person’s reason might become another’s wrong. Judgment becomes another issue. Who’s the judge? Passion and appetite have potential for imagery too.

Creative Write:  What does reason look like? How could you show it in action? See where you can take these four abstractions, either together or separately.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Write to Change

Do you have a habit you'd like to change?  It could involve nail biting, procrastination or chronic worrying.  On the positive side, you may wish to develop a write habit and spend time with words.

Rather than pointing and shaking a finger at yourself, go for thumbs up.  You can do it!

Writing around, into and through thoughts and feelings about habits may assist you to discover ways to motivate change.

Freewrite to complete these sentences. Let them roll out in a flow to a finish. Respond again and probe for ideas until you run out of new endings before going on to the next one. If you become overwhelmed at any point, just stop and rest. Take several deep breaths. 
You may discover some discomfort in doing these exercises. Don't judge, write to the feelings.
1. Begin writing by feeling the urge to engage in your habit. Imagine a place or time in which you would usually do it. Get in touch with the urge deep within your body. Breathe into the feelings and write to finish the sentence, “I feel like a need to ___________ (name your habit or desire for a habit here) because…” Let the sentence unravel where it will.  Begin again. Keep writing until you can't think of new endings.

When you are finished, write down some of the sentences that had the most power.
2. Continue to explore the urge. Write, “If I never ___________ (name your habit or what you wish to turn into a positive habit) again…” Keep writing until you cannot think of endings.

When you are finished, write down some of the sentences that felt the strongest for you.
3. Let yourself feel the urge to engage in your habit and push the urge to its full intensity. Ask the urge why it needs you? How does it serve you? What is its job?  Then, name and dialogue with the Urge.

Spend some time with this experience before moving on.

Write down what you learn.
4. Imagine going through the day with the urge to engage in a positive habit. What does it feel like to want to accomplish it? How will it help you complete a goal?  

Next, wonder what it would feel like not to have a negative urge and to feel confident you will never engage in your bad habit. Pay careful attention to anything that feels unwelcome about this reality. Spend some time with this experience before moving on. Write down what you learn.

By writing through the four questions you may discover aspects of your personality you have not tapped before.  Make friends with this part of you. Rather than trying to change it, accept it. Spend time writing about it each day.  

Write to change.

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Story in the Details

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~Anton Chekhov

Writers hear it again and again, "Show, don't tell."  The above example provides the first visual. 

Now imagine a scene. Where is the glass?  What or who breaks it? Catch the sound of broken glass when it cascades to the floor.  Who resides in the room or place where the glass shatters? Which aromas enter through the break?  What symbol could the glass represent to one person? Add another individual to the scene. Develop dialogue.  Examine the edges.

Tomorrow night, September 29, the full moon rises as a "Harvest Moon" for those who live in the Northern Hemisphere. It gains light exactly opposite the sun by 11:19 pm EDT.  Farmers work late into the evening with this moonlight to gather their crop. Research this fact to add.

Creative Write: Use sensory detail and imagery to write a story or poem with Chekhov's sentence in mind.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Joy of Words

by Amanda Cass                                                                      

Enrich the poetry of your prose by applying words that provide precise connotations while also evoking emotional responses and musicality.
Discover the interrelationship of attractive words in sensations, impressions, and emotions. Try enunciating these words in a gruff voice. Emphasize joy in negative words. Do their sounds suggest quality, or does their meaning determine their effect?

Beguile: deceive
Caprice: impulse
Cascade: waterfall
Cinnamon: an aromatic spice; its soft brown color
Coalesce: unite, or fuse
Enrapture: delight
Filament: thread, strand
Penumbra: shade, shroud, fringe
Sapphire: rich, deep bluish purple
Sphere: ball, globe
Susurration: a whispering
Vestige: trace

Cacophony: confused noise
Cataclysm: flood, catastrophe, upheaval
Chafe: irritate, abrade
Cynic: distrustful, self-interested person
Disgust: aversion, distaste
Grimace: expression of disgust or pain
Harangue: rant
Shriek: sharp, screeching sound
Shun: avoid, ostracize

CREATIVE WRITE:  Freewrite using words from top to bottom to play with the musicality of words and their meanings. Discover connections and new directions.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Writing about Objects

What are boxes and what can you put inside? What needs to move outside? If you hide something inside, an opportunity to discover magic and mystery waits. How long can it wait?

Boxes also mean limitation but Jack-in-the-Boxes permit "out springing," Then discovery occurs.

From East of Eden by John Steinbeck:

You came upon me carving some kind of little figure out of wood and you said,
"Why don't you make something for me."
I asked what you wanted, and you said,
"A box.'
"What for?"
"To put things in"
"What things?"
"Whatever you have," you said.
"Well, here's your box. Nearly everything I have is in it, and it is not full. Pain and excitement are in it, and feeling good or bad and evil thoughts and good thoughts - the pleasure of design and some despair and the indescribable joy of creation. And on top of these are all the gratitude and love I have for you and it's still not full."

Creative Write:  Write about a box that has meaning for you. What does it hold?  What could it release?  Describe it in all its dimensions and see where the freewriting takes you.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Hopi Elder's View

During my morning run, I discovered a path leading to a seclusion of shore by the Willamette river. My shoes crunched the browns and reds in autumn leaves. Picked up by wind, a crumpled paper bounced on the path. As I unfolded it, words slanted across the page following the title, A Hopi Elder's View.

This is the hour for considerations. A river flows now. It moves so swifty that those will be afraid.  They will try to hold onto the shore. They will feel torn apart.  Know the river has its destination.  The elders say we must let go of the shore and push into the middle, keep our eyes open and heads above water.

Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in the right relationship?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
Speak your truth.
Create your community.
Do not look outside yourself for the leader.
Who is in there with you to celebrate?  

Take nothing personally least of all yourself.  The time for the lone wolf is gone.  Gather and banish the word struggle from your attitude and vocabulary.  

All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

Around me, nature revealed its curiosity for autumn. A final crocus of summer sparkled under a cottonwood tree. I emerged from the shore's path eager to consider the questions.

Creative Write:  Answer the questions in ways you have never considered.  Write to seek a celebration of renewal. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Marionette a Character

In fiction, we inhabit other people, our characters, and try to understand their circumstances, understand how they struggle and how even well-meaning people can bollox things and end up in a messy situation. In nonfiction, we do the same, except the characters we inhabit are real people, often our families, or our friends. The act of trying to understand what concerns others, what motivates them, where they shine, and where they stumble, and to recognize that their behavior is not directed at you, but is rather their own struggle.  - Dinty W. Moore

Choose a friend or family member. What bewilders you about their behavior? Describe a messy circumstance in detail.  Add facial expressions and body language. Include hand and arm gestures. 

Show what the individual sounds like in dialogue. Include your reactions and responses. 

Answer questions to show how this person struggles unnecessarily. What motivates him or her to create chaos?  Add qualities that shine to create another dimension. Insert humor.

Write for fifteen minutes to reveal the behavior that confuses you. 

Develop an unanticipated ending to the scene to fictionalize the situation. How might this individual's behavior change?

Notice how detailing a character develops potential for story. Create a new first and last name and push the person into a different situation.  

Marionette your character.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Kre8 a Bumper Sticker

Do you wonder where creativity comes from?  Can it be taught or caught?

What does it take to see into, beyond and make connections not considered before?

How do we communicate our Passions and Pangs?

Many use bumper stickers to warble their concerns in words.

Honk if . . . . 

The messages make us smile, engage our curiosity or pique anger. Often we have to get into the meaning: celebrate whirled peas.

Bark Less. Wag More.

We engage with,  I heart my ….

Reminders include: Life is short, play hard.  My karma just ran into your dogma.

I’d rather be  . . . .

What bumper sticker do you want to share with our weary world?
Go KRE8!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Write about Love

Define Love.  Do you notice its effects when seasons change?

How many ways do you Love?

Have you stumbled and fallen in Love?

What does Love look like? Show where it goes beyond human relationships.

Could you reveal Love as an animal or plant?

What does it mean to love to play, eat a pumpkin pie, or smell scents of a rose?

Does Love have an enemy?

Have you experienced Love's silliness?

Can you hear Love's musicality?

Does a texture of Love exist?

Where else do you notice Love?

On this first day of autumn, write about Love in all its attractions and formations. Show Love's myriad ways.

Write to Love!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hero Writing

Not many Heroes abound in the media's view of our world.  Bizarre behavior triggers news rather than  a focus on those who can and do make a difference to others.  

What are the characteristics that define a Hero?  Have you had one or two in your life?

Write about your Hero today.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Autumnal Awakenings

It seems to me that January resolutions are about will; September resolutions are about authentic wants. . . . The beauty of autumnal resolutions is that no one else knows we’re making them. Autumnal resolutions don’t require horns, confetti, and champagne. September resolutions ask only that we be open to positive change. 
                - from Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach 

Autumn begins to creep in and envelope summer.  Change seeps into leaf color and crisps breeze as nature prepares for change. 
What changes do you feel around you this September?  Take time to notice the subtle messages nature sends.
What scents arouse your writing fingers?  Listen for changes in sounds. Watch the day's progression into dusk. Feel your body's adjustments and sensations with the seasonal shift.
Which writing desires will you accomplish this fall? Reflect about changes you wish to initiate this month.  Go for autumnal awakenings.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Belief Systems

Occasionally we need to take a look at ways to update our belief systems. How do we define a spiritual practice, ideals, a goal or a relationship?  Which principles need to grow or change?  If we open up to wonder about why we believe, the potential expands for knowledge and a renewal of understanding.

A curious mind moves in myriad directions. It collects ideas, amazements and amusements.  Gaining new information on all levels of life requires collating and considering possibilities.  We add to our mosaic of experience by taking in variety and refining pieces for personal use. Communication with diverse individuals requires blue sky thinking.

Renew. Revise. Revitalize.

Creative Write: Consider a belief, an ideal and a relationship. Write to expand your knowledge in each area. Then respond from a view opposed to your own. Do you gain insight?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fall Happenings

Today I tried to race the gray squirrels.  How do they stay ahead of my strides?  They cheat, of course, and race up a tree when I begin to overtake them.  They can't outlast me on today’s six mile run. They don’t even follow me over the bridge to the duck and heron ponds.

Summer plays tug-a-war with fall for the last days of sunshine. Leaflets on the Honey Locust trees have turned golden by my window. They cascade into the spiders’ vertical lines and twirl in front of my door. Sugar Maples have started to shoot their magenta, orange and lemon hues to scare the green away. 

A crisp in the breeze invites the clusters of leaves to bounce and play tag along the sidewalks. Apples, pears and huckleberries have ripened and look ready to eat.

For me, autumn represents change, abundance and a time to express gratitude. With nature exploding its wonder all around, I appreciate the subtle aspects of life that stimulate my creativity and enthusiasm for every moment in movement. Of course, I become energized during Oregon Ducks football season.
Creative Write: Begin to observe subtle changes of the fall season. What does the changing season represent? Connect it with memories or emotions. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Nourish with Words

You nurture others with this style of writing. Readers will recall the great chef you became and the food of words you offered. They become fed by having the ability to move into the sensory world you have created. Their stomachs will fill and taste buds tingle.

Consider meals you have spent with family and friends. Focus on the details of outdoor cooking time in the summer. Recall the sizzle of the grill. Write about the tang in the air that floated barbecue sauce and sweet scents to the table. Have you shared ethnic dishes from around the world?

Write to experience the crunch into a pear. Taste the tang of oranges and a pineapple.

Many experiences nourish a life of words and food. Recipes inspire word usage in condensed forms. To cook, all you have to do is read. Like writing you can ad lib and add to taste also. That's the fun of a free flow of words and fixing a meal.

Creative Write:  Write about nourishment.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Uncage the ordinary!

Do you feel caged in ordinary ?

During your process as a writer,  nurture awareness to notice, collect and collate daily experiences. Transpose ordinary walks into adventures. Restaurants provide eavesdrop appointments with conversations. Body language shares slants of life to extrapolate for future writing. Each moment fills with curiosities and sensory input for the pen.

In the Autumn 2010 issue of “The American Scholar,” author Tony Hiss poses a notion of “deep travel" in his article, Wonderlust. He writes, “deep travel has a distinctive taste. It often surprises us, stealing over us unawares. But it can be sought out, chosen, practiced, remembered, returned to.”

Hiss mentions the need for wonder to bridge into deep travel. “You slow down, you may stop altogether. You’re lost. You’ve got to find, and soon, some way to proceed, and so your senses are wide open, for the time being, everything and everyone is a potential source of information.”

Today, take time for wonderlust. Notice the questions that arise from everything around you. Move through the day with all your senses open to make the extraordinary appear.

Creative Write:  
Fly with your pen  from your cage of ordinary!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Writing the Landscape of Self

Consider:  Where have you felt most at home?  Where do you feel comfortable in an environment?  Where do you feel you came from?

Use your curiosity and imagination to create a landscape of self.  List feelings as fast as you can. Begin with:  despair, joy, loneliness, fullness, confusion. contentment, silliness, seriousness, boredom, excitement.

Next, list landscape-related words: mountain peak, valley, hill, pebble, beach, seaside, waves, twig, leaf, desert cactus, swamp, meadow, fence, garden pond, creek, sky, prairie.

Combine your feelings with landscape imagery.

Open with, I COME FROM. . .  You might come from mountains of silliness, a swamp of seriousness, a twig of sarcasm, a tornado of anxiety, prairies of delight.

Add colors, sounds, scents, tastes and textures.

After you've collected imagery, do a freewrite.  Then, go in and circle the images that mean the most to you.  Where will you wander for further development?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Emote with Detail

Writers often flood their paragraphs and pages with abstract ideas. They tell the reader what to think or feel rather than revealing the circumstances.  If one feels frustrated awakening in the morning, another person might not connect with that emotion. Easing the reader into a mood or situation by showing the details enhances the experience.

Explain a mood by using the senses. How does the body feel? Rather than writing the joy in a "beautiful" sunset, describe the colors, breeze, scents, and sounds.  Place the readers in the scene.

Emote with detail.

Creative Write:

Choose a nuisance, a frustration, an irritation.

Add a passion, a temptation, a need.

Describe these abstract words with details. Don't tell the reader the words. Reveal them.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Peel the Orange

How often do you react to a situation you perceive as conflict rather than consider it a two-sided conversation?  No one likes to compromise because it feels like a defeat when each person involved must relinguish something. Consider a flow of the three C’s – Conflict. Calm. Conversation. Creativity. Collaboration.

In order to achieve collaboration, a calm must precede conversation and negotiation. Consider a simple scenario. With one orange and two individuals, one wants a drink, the other wants to make orange cake. If they split the orange in half, they will not have a desired result.

Moving to the next level of thinking – creativity and compromise, they need to take time to consider what each person actually needs from the orange. One person needs the juice, the other needs the pulp and rind. If they compromise in this way, both will have something not considered before; not half of what’s needed.

The next time you find yourself in a conflict situation, consider the other C’s.

l. Move away from the heat and emotion of the conflict. Discuss a subject far removed; even the weather.

2. In calm conversation, discuss what each person needs. Take notes, do not talk, just listen to the other person’s viewpoint.

3. Take time away and write what you heard. Make two columns.  In the first write what you heard.   In the second, respond with your needs and views.

4. Consider how a third situation will move beyond compromise and into collaboration.

5. Return to conversation. Develop a metaphor to represent the idea of collaboration. How can you peel the orange?

This technique requires creativity, patience, time and thought.  You will benefit from the results and wisdom gained. 

Write about peeling the orange.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Portals to Adventure

A picture 
lives by companionship.  - Mark Rothko

"There are things known and things unknown and between them, the doors." - Jim Morrison

Time stands still for my writer's mind. I snag a snapshot of attention. Ideas leap in. I become a companion with the frame and wonder where my imagination will extend the image.

What happens beyond the gate?

Words in response to pictures help me reflect and interpret the landscape and develop a relationship.  Sentences search a world of paradox and mystery. Barriers invite curiosity as portals to adventure.

What natural entrances invite stories or a poem?  Do you see the man of the sea hiding?
Creative Write:  Take a walk and capture a collage of portals. Or, use the three above. Do a freewite to investigate their connections.  Do stories and poems arise from one side of the entrance to the other?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Set Fire in Writing

Disappointments should be cremated not embalmed - Henry S. Haskins  

Choose a defeat, a letdown and a discouragement.  Write about each and push against them with a creative force. 

Set fire to these concerns to deepen your mastery of the art of liberation through writing.  Let them turn to ashes and disappear in the wind.

Write to discover the positive influences that resulted from each when viewed in retrospect.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Inventory your personality

Have you ever taken time to inventory your personal characteristics?  Writing to probe your personality can assist with ideas to use for stories and poems. It also may lead to a deeper understanding of yourself.

Write to these questions:

How would you describe yourself?  Include physical, intellectual and emotional strengths.

How would a friend or family member describe you?

How would a person who has had a disagreement with you describe you?

How have you built your personality over the years?  Did you pick and choose role models to emulate?

Describe characteristics you wanted to add to your personality. How did you do it?

Reveal how a parent, sibling or close friend provided assistance with your intellectual and emotional development.

What are your greatest strengths?  How have they evolved over the years?

Describe three peak experiences that have stretched you.

Have you set attainable goals?  Did you reach others you did not anticipate?

Describe a trait that burdens you.

Which areas of your personality need the most work?

How has negative thinking or a bad attitude limited you in the past?   How did you discipline your thinking?

In a situation where you felt lost or ill-prepared, how did you manage your emotions?

When you need encouragement, what do you do?  

How do you select the people who surround you?

Have you had to let go of a relationship because it did not feel reciprocal?  Did you return to it?

How do you encourage others?

How do you hold yourself accountable?

Creative Write:  After you have completed your responses, create a persona and respond with traits not similar to yours. When you're done, write a dialogue between you and the persona to see where it takes you.

Set the scene with a misunderstanding. Show how the personalities respond. Let a story or poem evolve.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Ten Percent Solution

I have always felt a fascination to explore my upper limits.  This involves determination to delve into what I consider my ten percent zone. The highest level of my capability exists in a fragile space. My self-knowledge increases while spending time and energy to examine this area.

Does this appear abstract and mysterious?

When I trained to run marathons, I discovered ways to access the ten percent zone that frightened and unnerved me.  At first, fear surrounded any notions of dashing into the red blinking lights of exhaustion or into a space that could cause injury.

How could I balance the extension of my ability and not break down as a result?

I explored in small increments, attempting each time to push my spirit of discovery and monitor both mind and body. It felt like entering a room of steel without air. The space loomed dark and cluttered with pricks of exhaustion. Fear clogged my throat. Dizziness and chills often spread throughout my body. At the limit, my hearing heightened and vision diminished. I moved out of the feeling as fast as I moved in.

Gradually, I learned my territory beyond "terroritory" and befriended my discomfort zone. It teased with its sense of purpose and wilderness. Each time, I gained information for the next excursion. My performance improved if I did not quit or allow my pride to push. Rewards became apparent, measurable and kept me returning. I learned not to stop before it felt relatively good.

What does it feel like to break open, break out and push beyond self-imposed limits? Each person will encounter a different process. Once discovered, the end result includes possession of a skill to translate into all areas of life.  True confidence develops beyond the fear. Learning the self and making discoveries translates into a new understanding.

It requires more than daring. The result occurs in the doing. Wisdom arrives from a balance of experiencing what the body can endure before harm occurs.

Developing skill and trust in the writing process also involves that discomfort zone. During a time of frustration, to write one more word, one more sentence, another paragraph and page creates a positive habit. When we quit during frustration, we train ourselves to do it. When we push on, the synapses and sinew learn what to use for the next attempt.

As I did in exploring the physical ten percent zone, I never stop writing until achieving confidence within a thrill of words. In this way I have conditioned myself and achieved a balance as I did in running. 

Creative Write: Have you pushed to your limits of achievement in an area? How did you get into the ten percent zone? What did it feel like, smell and sound like?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Rolling Rocks

After making his selection at the quarry, Michelangelo pushed a slab of stone down the road for miles to his studio. A passerby asked why he worked so hard over a piece of rock. He replied that he knew an angel in the rock wanted to come out during a laborious process.

Rollo May in Courage to Create wrote that creative people need big hearts to take the risks necessary to creativity. He called it an “active battle with the Gods.”

Why do writers suffer so much in process?

Writers need patience to discover their angels and angles through the stages of creativity.

Preparation: In the beginning of a writing project, an idea arrives followed by a search for possible ways to discover its elaboration.  Sparks fly.  Everyone has fun until . . .

Frustration arrives:  
 No one can avoid this phase. Count on it.  Make friends with it.  The creative process includes periods of confusion, chaos and ambiguity. The distress of living with ambiguity fuels the creative process. Believe it  Every writer feels a temptation to give up or feel satisfied with a piece of writing just to have it done. Outlast the feelings of frustration, fear and intimidation. Dialogue with it. Soldier on!

Incubation. This stage helps a writer develop tolerance for the mystery and the flow of ambiguity. It involves patience and active playfulness.  Gain trust that process will solve the problem.  Move into this stage by diversion.  Get away from thinking about the direct issue.  Romping with a child's mind will help.

Writers with patience and the ability to play and divert from frustration feel the satisfaction of an “AHA” moment.  Perspiration rains until the skies clear. The writing flows and ideas spark in rainbow colors.

Now the words harnass paragraphs to race into pages. Sharing the idea in a form that becomes understandable becomes the finishing line.

Rest, re-creation and play create the building blocks that are fundamental to the writing process. Carl Jung encouraged, “Every creative individual owes all that is greatest in his life to fantasy. The dynamic principle of fantasy involves play. This characteristic feels childlike. Without playing with fantasy no creative work is accomplished.

When stalled, place the pen aside and play.

Creative Write: Return to a piece of writing that has become a rock in your road.  Play with it.  See it upside down. Discover ways you haven't considered before to roll it and discover its angel.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Questions for the Learning Process

Does the ginkgo exclaim how hard it works during autumn?  Do you hear shrieks of exasperation?  Of course not.  It goes about its business of treeness and pushes its auxins. The yellow floods its leaves, then they drop and illustrate the street.  

Why does the notion exist among human beings that effort equals result?  It reminds me of the "Little League" mentality that everyone gets a trophy for hard work.  What happens when a batter swings at the third pitch and misses?  He's out!  It doesn't matter how hard he tried.  The effort did not produce a result.

As a professor of writing, I receive many comments from students concerning effort. When a student's "hard work" does not translate into a satisfying grade, a variety of concerns follow.  "I've always received A's," becomes a mantra at the end of a grading period.  "I've worked so hard my brains feel like scrambled eggs," another student claims.  

I read the product. It either shows a result or it doesn't. 

In the publishing world, editors cannot observe the effort put into a piece of writing.  They judge the words that bounce upon the page. The black squiggles either hold their attention or they don't.  In the construction business, if a carpenter works all day measuring, cutting, hammering and at the end of the day looks up to see the windows sag, corners don't match up and in one rain the roof will leak, does he say, "I worked so hard?"  No!  He can see that he needed to focus on the details.

Why do students not want to make mistakes when learning a new skill?  Failure assists the process if learning occurs. Success comes from feeling comfortable with risk and error.

Imagine the man who loves to work with his hands. He carves boxes designed with robins and roses. Purchasers love his work. One day he decides to take a ceramics class to learn how to throw pots. He spends four weeks throwing clay and the pots lean right and left. Some have thin sides and heavy bases. The wheel races, his fingers slipping in the water. Drippings cover him with gray. He's worked so hard with his hands but this new procedure defies his understanding. 

The result does not represent his accomplishments of the past. What has he learned from the process?  He thought he could just crank it out as an artist but did not realize the nuances and techniques necessary to learn a new skill.  Does he keep trying?  Of course.

Hard work has value as it improves discipline and provides the opportunity for results.  Many times one must fail in order to succeed.

Creative Write:  Write about learning a new skill.  How did "hard work" translate into result . . . or not? Did failure assist the process?

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Write about what works for you.  Write what needs attention.  Write about what hurts.  Write what you wish for another person.

Then.  Write ten grateful sentences.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mood Altering

Search for ways to add conflicting emotions to your fictional characters or the personas used to write poetry. To mine for emotions and discover where words will take you, experiment with these mood sets:

grateful empathic playful admiring secretive jubiliant

anxious fearful angry remorseful lonely rejected

The first line includes upbeat feelings. The lower line delves into the frustrations and negative feelings. Add others.

Use a spiral notebook for this exercise so you may move with ease through the pages. Begin by writing the first word in the pair across the top of your page.

Write for at least two pages to express every thought or feeling that the word arouses. If you need more information on freewriting, scroll down to my post on Wordling. Then switch and write at the top of the next page the word that appears beneath your chosen word.

Write for two pages about the emotion listed beneath it. Don't forget to use all the senses. After the writing session take a break. When you return, write for a page about what the mind has churned up regarding these moods. Do you see a character developing that intrigues you?

Become willing to go into uncomfortable places. If you have secrets to tell, create a character to reveal them. Do this by writing a first name when the idea arises and use dialogue to push the idea forward or write in third person. Let the writing amuse and surprise you.

Don't analyze or critique the results. See if you can generate the mood you write about. During your writing, do not stop or re-read what you have written. If you become sidetracked, let the writing flow where it wants.

Creative Write: Begin a story or poem with a potential character you've Wordled into life.