Friday, March 20, 2009

Write or Die: Prodding the Reluctant Muse

I love going to my favourite blogs and perusing their bloglists. Yesterday, from*** Tender Graces,*** I followed a link to Mike's Writing Workshop and Newsletter. Mike, in turn, mentioned a site that made my heart go pitter-pat. It was something from Online, called 100 Free Lectures That Will Make You a Better Writer. I want to listen to every single lecture. What a great resource! So far, I've heard just the introductory lecture in the Modern Poetry course. The next one will be on Robert Frost's poetry.

Later, while Robin was watching the movie "Australia", (a little too epic for my taste) I decided to challenge myself to a little speed writing. I went to Write or Die, Dr. Wicked's Writing Lab, and I wrote two hundred words in five minutes. That was easy. I didn't write anything memorable, but I kept my fingers hopping over the keys. I erased that effort and started again, and - voila!

Again, I didn't produce art, but I kept typing. I was a little put off when I thought I had been typing for ten minutes and I had produced only 250 words, but then I realized that the meter was counting down, not up, and I really had been typing for only five minutes or so. Phew. For a moment there, I thought I had had myself a fugue. I've used that technique before, after reading Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones, but then I wrote by hand, not on my laptop, and the idea was simply to keep the pen moving. Somehow, there wasn't as much pressure when I wrote by hand - maybe because there wasn't the threat of a loud and obnoxious buzzer going off, in the event that I stopped writing. Apparently, that will happen if you slow down too much when you're typing at Dr. Wicked's site - but when you reach your goal, you get a trumpet fanfare. By the time I got to the end of the exercise, I had actually started playing with an idea for a poem. Now, I had better go jot it down somewhere.

By the way, those asterisks by the title Tender Graces are a reminder that Kathryn Magendie's book by the same name is due for release very soon. I've pre-ordered my copy. Kat is so excited, I can hear her giggling all the way up here in Canada. ;>) The thing is, I'm excited, too.


John Hayes said...

I'm a big fan of automatic writing, tho I've never done it in timed ways. I also think found poetry can unlock things as well, tho maybe if we allow ourselves to tweak the found poetry a bit-- even adding to it, etc. It's really inspiring to learn about the work you're devoting to writing.

Debbie said...

I'm excited about Kat's novel too! I can't wait to read it and can't wait to read about her experiences when it comes out. Maybe you'll have one out someday too:)

Sandra Leigh said...

You may want to give "Write or Die" a try, just for fun - and to get your adrenaline pumping, should you feel the need for that! I like your idea of tweaking found poetry. Likely, we would end up tweaking until we had a completely new poem.

Sandra Leigh said...

Oops my last comment was addressed to John - but now I see Debbie's comment as well. Debbie, finishing a novel is at the top of my Bucket List!

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