Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Writing Exercise of the Week--Music to My Ears

To access theme in your book, you may need to talk with the nonlinear side of your brain, sometimes called the right brain. So do something nonlinear: For this writing exercise, listen to a favorite piece of music without doing anything else.

Write for twenty minutes about what you heard and felt as you were listening. Then write anything that comes that answers this question: How does my book's theme connect with what I just wrote?

Be non-logical, nonlinear as you explore this on paper. Be prepared for VERY COOL surprises...

What happened? Post it here.


  1. This is my first writing exercise at this site, so please bear with me!
    I have a lighthearted story that I am hoping to get into book form. After doing this exercise I was disappointed to see that the song I choose and the theme that came out tie back to a different story that I am trying hard not to tell. It's a personal story that would be too hurtfull to my family to write at this time.
    My question is this: Where do I go from here? Do I hunker down and bang out this painful story in an effort to get it out of me once and for all? Or, do I set it firmly aside to work on projects that are more palatable?
    Any thoughts?

  2. Writers in my classes often ask this question--and I've encountered it myself, when a difficult story keeps wanting to surface. In my experience, it will hamper the other until written. Just write it and tear it up, or write it and hide it away. Set up support for the process--a friend to call afterward, perhaps, or something kind to yourself that you can do. The depth that this brings will positively affect the story you really want to write. In many writers, a lot of good comes from the process, even if it's unsavory. I recommend reading Natalie Goldberg's book "Thunder and Lightning" if you haven't already--she speaks of this process a lot. Also Lynn Lauber's book "Listen to Me," which is about the process of memoir (memory) writing and its unexpected detours. Hope this helps! Keep in touch...we're all in the same boat here.