Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Exercise of the Week for Book Writers

Book writers (and all writers!) need to be able to hear both the random, illogical side of their creative selves, as well as the structuring, logical part. Clues about how to improve our writing come from both. If you have some difficulty listening to all parts of your creative self, ask the questions below. If you find one of the questions harder, it might tell you that you are using an unfamiliar part of yourself (maybe your work and family life demands more of your logic than intuition, so the random side is underused).

1. What do I think I should write about?
2. What am I most afraid of writing about?
3. What can’t I write about?
4. What won’t I write about?
5. What’s a sound or smell or taste I remember, but I don’t want to

write about?
6. What is the most logical thing to write about?

7. How do I feel when I think of writing about that?

Let yourself go into these questions in 10-minute segments of freewriting (no editing, crossing out, or even stopping writing), by setting a kitchen timer for 10 minutes and trying one question at a time. Try to keep the pen moving the entire 10 minutes, even if it’s just to write “I don’t know, I don’t know” until something comes.
When you feel you’ve exhausted this exercise, look over what you wrote. Ask yourself which question brought up the most unexpected material, what you new insights on why you are writing this book. And where you are not listening to yourself completely.