For Creative Writers Everywhere…

Posts tagged ‘getting started’

New Ventures

Today’s prompt . . .

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Do you have a story or poem idea you’ve been thinking about starting? Why not today? :)

Birds on a Wire

Today’s early prompt…

Unfortunately, I’m having problems with my computer . . . my internet security has failed and apparently someone from the company (one of the biggest two) is going to call me in the morning. I’m not confident. If your security fails and is responsible for causing problems on your computer then who do you trust? Anyway, just in case, I decided to put the prompt I usually upload each morning, on tonight using Rod’s computer, just in case I can’t get to it in the morning. (He will be taking his to work in the morning). Wish me luck . . . with an aging computer and very weak internet signal at times, I don’t need any further problems :(

The photo shows cheeky swallows sitting on a wire in our shed. They are fascinating to watch and so fast as they flit from beam to wire, outside, in . . . across the dam and back again!

Sandcastles

Today’s writing prompt :)

No need to tell you this magnificent creation looks nothing like the upturned buckets of sand decorated with a few sea shells that were my childhood sandcastles!

This photo was taken in Rundle Mall, Adelaide, while visiting my daughter a few years ago.

A Prompt a Day Keeps Writer’s Block Away!

When I attended my very first writing group session, I was horrified when the leader announced, half an hour in, that it was time to write for twenty minutes before we paused for a cuppa. Write? But what about?

For twenty-five minutes I scratched my head, blew my nose, scribbled a few words, crossed out a few words, chewed my pen, gazed out the window, studied the other class members, scribbled a few words, crossed out a few words, found a new pen in my bag, crossed my legs, un-crossed my legs, scribbled a few words, crossed out a few words…until I finally managed an uninspiring paragraph about being uninspired and having nothing to write.

During the break, I could barely swallow my coffee (it didn’t help that it was the very worst generic blend!) and almost choked on a soggy biscuit, for I was certain I would be evicted from the group once they heard my pathetic effort. To add to my woes, the leader suggested I read first as I was the newest member.

But when I looked up after reading my paragraph in a barely audible whisper, I noticed all the other participants were nodding wisely.

“We call ourselves writers; you’d think we could think of something to write about,” said one.

“Ye…s,” sounded an echo around the room.

“Would you prefer I gave you a topic to write about in future?” asked the leader.

Every head nodded in unison.

I wasn’t alone; I wasn’t evicted. And…from then on the leader gave us a topic for every writing session. Now, I’m not suggesting that all of those topics inspired great works of literature but at least they gave us a starting point. Random inspiration doesn’t necessarily come when you need it most.

Sometimes ideas come, seemingly out of nowhere, motivating your very best stories and poetry but, unfortunately, although the next flash of inspiration might just be hiding around the next corner, more often we have to find inspiration or writing prompts. Old photographs are good, postcards, magazines or newspapers. A book (or website) of proverbs and sayings can be helpful, and it’s a great idea to make a scrapbook filled with interesting pictures, news items and even cartoons, for all those times when you have time to write but no ideas.

And then…there’s this blog :)  Use the daily prompts as you like. Share them with friends or your writing group/circle as needed. Look at the big picture, study the small details. Just keep on writing…

And, do send some of your efforts in to the magazine. The submission details are at the side :)

 

A Writing Workout

Push-ups. Sit-ups. Jogging. Crunches. Ugh. Most of us shudder at the thought. I know I do. Not that I don’t admire those who can persevere with a goal or training program. Two of my sons trained long hours every day to achieve wonderful results in gymnastics including positions on state teams and one competed forAustralia in New Zealand. Me, I just like a good walk.

But what has this got to do with writing? Forgive me, I take a while to get to the point and I’m a mother; why miss an opportunity to mention my boys! But it was relevant…in order to achieve success in the sporting field one needs to train regularly sometimes repeating monotonous exercises on a daily basis. The main event, whether it is a gymnastics competition, a game or a race occurs less frequently and is the culmination of all that training. And hopefully with a satisfying outcome.

I often hear writers complain that their muse has flown and they simply cannot write. How do I get it back? they ask. I suggest they approach writing in a similar way to a sportsperson preparing for a race or event. Not all your writing will be worthy of submitting to a publication or entering in a competition. Some of it is just training…pushing-up, sitting-up and crunching your writing skills, jogging your muse back into action, ready for that poem, short story or article that you sit back and read, then sigh with satisfaction knowing it is a personal best.

When asked to write for a set time in a writing group or workshop I used to worry if my offering was less than the standard I set for myself. Especially when I heard some of the other participants read their work. How often have you heard someone say before reading… ‘Oh, it’s not quite right. I couldn’t…’ ? How often have you said or thought it yourself, perhaps even refraining from taking your turn at reading? Similarly at home, sometimes even the best ideas just don’t come together, leaving you disappointed and sapping your confidence. A runner has to run thousands of kilometres before shaving a fraction of a second from a race time, a gymnast tumbles hundreds of times before perfecting his or her routine and sometimes we need to write pages and pages before we achieve our magnum opus.

Occasionally we are hit with a brilliant flash of inspiration, a piece that almost writes itself but rather than sit back and wait for the next one, try exercising your writing. Just write…anything and everything and you just might be surprised to find your muse in the middle of it all. Sometimes the most insignificant piece will lead to another idea but even if it doesn’t you are honing your talent and preparing for the big one.

And best of all, no need to sweat. Go and make yourself a nice hot cup of tea or coffee, ignore the housework…you’re in training! Bring on the Writing Olympics.

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