Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fits and starts

Last week I informed my new writing group that I didn't have a writing discipline per se, that I let everything boil up in my head and then write in a rush. This runs contrary to everything I've ever read about being an accomplished writer, but it's just the way I've done things in the past.

Later something occurred to me: what good is the talent to write if you don't exercise it? So what if you have all the ingredients for a tasty dinner if you don't cook for a month?

Last night I put my meditation timer on my desk and set it to ten minutes. I wrote about something. When the timer went off, I turned the page and wrote about something else. I did this one more time, giving me a total of thirty minutes of free writing.

I started three stories. Good stories. I quit mid-line when the timer went off although I did not want to stop. I set up a folder called, "Fits and Starts" and put them all in there.

Today, I was telling my writing teacher my idea, and she said that many writers do what I said I do, let things boil up and then write in a rush. In fits and starts, she said. And I knew that although she was affirming my stated style of writing, I was on to something good with the new exercises.

Fits and starts. I like the idea of it.


trisha said...

Great great idea. You're on to something with starting stories this way. Wow, now you've got your characters out of your head.

It's a little like the Artist's Way morning pages: write 3 pages, 3 little pages each morning, even if it's repeating "Don't have anything to say" over and over. Gets my writing muscles warmed up.

trisha said...

Forgot to say that's a gorgeous, moodly photo.

Oma said...

I am always delighted when I set the timer or the music and just let it flow - say a word like "pockets" - anything - just so I keep the pen moving. I used to call these short takes Fragments but I love your idea of fits and starts - such good energy.

Greta said...

Mamie, enjoyed reading about your fits and starts! I describe my style as sitting down in front of the computer and regurgitating words. I put my fingers on the home keys and let it fly. Disgusting, I suppose, but an accurate discussion.
Writing teacher? Are you taking one of the classes in the creative writing program at CCCC? Just curious.

mamie said...

Greta, I am in a small writing group with my former writing professor. I have taken four semesters of creative writing at Meredith and a couple of workshops there.

Anonymous said...

You have a very cozy writing area - I'm sure that also helps to put you in the right mood to write.