Monday, 23 January 2017

Monday Musings

Monday, it's hard to get back into the swing of things. I open files, notebooks and then get distracted or nothing comes. Working on the computer isn't the best idea because it's too easy to have Facebook or somethinge equally time-wasting open in another window. I do multi-task a bit as well when I write and sometimes that can work, gives me a break, a change of focus so I can come back to something fresh, but sometimes it's easy to be drawn into other things like tidying or cooking. 

At the moment I have a pot of jam cooking, this blog page, my in-progress novel and my 'roughs' file where I work on poems open. I haven't started doing anything but the blog. I'm going to try and use this blog as a way to kick start my writing in the morning. 

I write best in the morning now, I'm just too tired in the evenings. I work when all the kids are away and I have the house in silence. I miss silence most of the day. No demands from anyone but myself. I work on the computer as I have everything at my fingertips, though I still use notebooks for when I'm out and about. 

When I was teaching creative writing I used a lot of writing prompts, both for my students and for myself. I spent a lot of time travelling on trains and buses to jobs, so I used that time to write and used prompts to get me started. I've been struggling to get back into writing in my notebooks, so prompts are a good way to start. 

I usually start with a list of '10 Things I Want to Write'. Some days it's easy to come up with that list. I've found an old writing journal from 2004 (pre-kids) and I had these lists scattered through it with ticks against the ones I had finished. They changed regularly and a lot were completed. The lists can be as specific or as vague as you want. I do things I want to finish writing as well as things I would like to start. I made a list last week and came up with 4 things:
  • finish both sets of moon poems (this would be 6 poems in total I need to finish)
  • finish my photography poem
  • write a poem about 3rd culture
  • write a poem for each of the kids 
Once I have a list of some sort I can then take a subject off the list and work on it as a writing prompt. After I made the list I worked on some ideas for the 3rd culture poem. 3rd culture kids is an idea where immigrant/expat children don't relate totally to their parent's home culture, they can't connect with the culture of the country they live in as they are not native so they create a 3rd culture to form their identities around. I also relate this to the fact that I was born and raised in America, but chose to live in Scotland and have now ended up in Finland and I'm trying to write about how difficult it is to not have a national identity. 

Anyway, writing prompts. This list of writing ideas is what prompted me to start using prompts again to get me back into daily writing. I was linked to it through Trish Hopkinson's writing blog which I have been following lately. It's also made me break out my old teaching file of writing ideas. I hope something inspires you. Now off to work . . .
  • magnetic poetry
  • I used to be . . .  but now, I am , I see, I remember, I want, I will be, I come from
  • group writing – each person writes one sentence and passes it onto the next person
  • sentences must make sense, but each sentence must be totally unconnected to the one before it
  • colour – pick a colour and all writing must somehow relate to it
  • choose 10 verbs and 10 nouns randomly and write from that
  • repeating idea “I remember” “I wish” “I can’t write because” and whenever run out of ideas repeat that phrase until something comes to mind.
  • describe an object and at the same time have in mind the character who is looking at the object. Description must reflect the character’s emotional mind set. Ex: Old man, whose son has just died, is looking at a barn. Can be repeated looking at the same object from another person’s point of view or from the same character in a different mood. From John Gardner's The Art of Fiction
  • write a  nonsense poem/ story using made up words, ie ‘Jabberwocky’
  • write from the point of view of an inanimate object
  • word game with nouns – give a generic noun like ‘tree’ and pupil must respond with a word or phrase that makes it more specific like ‘elm’ or ‘dead’
  • write a story entirely made up of dialogue
  • start a journal: what are your wishes, dreams etc
  • think of a subject that is usually not written about, write for 10 minutes on it
  • write about a subject you’ve always wanted to write on or one you’ve never wanted to write about
  • found poetry – take a line from a song, another poem or any book and write a piece around it
  • Cut up poetry – cut words and phrases from newspapers, magazines etc. Use like magnetic poetry
  • Make a list of your favourite words – use like magnetic poetry

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