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September 23, 2013

3 Useful Writing Activities

If you read my last post, you know that I love writing. So today I would like to talk about a few of my favorite writing activities I have done over the years. If you are interested in writing perhaps you will find one of these helpful. At the end of the post I will also be posting a writing exercise for anyone interested.  


What is left of my original creative writing journal.

Keeping a writing journal

For a creative writing class in high school we were assigned to write for ten minutes every day. It didn't matter what we wrote, as long as we kept writing during those ten minutes. I wrote in a pink composition book that I decorated with comics I cut out of the paper. I took that book with me everywhere. The cover fell off and there were pages I stapled in. I eventually filled that book and started a new one. I developed some great habits back then. Some days it is harder to write than others. When you are writing at least a little every day, it gets easier to handle those rough days. I don’t really use a creative writing journal anymore. I do most my work on the computer where I can use a search function to find the section or file I need to look over. Though I might pick up the habit again at some point. Maybe for poems. Or perhaps to take on outings to collect random moments of inspiration. It would also help avoid scrapping for a napkin or some other piece of paper when those moments hit.

National Novel Writing Month

A friend introduced me to this crazy challenge. Nanowrimo takes place in November. It’s a challenge to write 50,000 words in thirty days. I have heard it referred to as “the end of the someday novelist.” I have been taking a crack at this challenge each November since 2009. It is tough and crazy and so worth it. The idea is to just write. No editing. No deleting. You just write. It is a fabulous way to get the ideas out of your head and on the page. Then when December rolls around you can start editing if you like.  
Want to check Nanowrimo out for yourself. You can find out more at nanowrimo.org

Free Flow Writing in the Morning

In the last year or so I learned about Morning Pages and 750words.com.  The basic premise of both is to write three pages or 750 words first thing in the morning to clear your head. To read more about them, specifically, check out their sites. Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages at http://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/ and 750words at 750words.com. Personally, I just keep a document on my computer labeled “Morning pages.” First thing in the morning I write in it for twenty minutes or until I have written 750 words. It is by no means a creative writing journal. For the most part it is a brain dump. A daily cleansing exercise if you will. I would even say that I find these free flow writing sessions therapeutic. I always feel so much clearer and productive on days that I do this.
So what are your favorite writing or creative activities?

Writing Exercise

I will be posting a writing exercise each week on Mondays. Anyone who wishes to participate is welcome. If you have or know of any exercises that you’d like to share e-mail me or leave a comment. I will be posting what I write for this exercise next Monday. And without further ado this week’s writing exercise:
Is there a physical activity you enjoy doing? Walking, volleyball, playing king of the mountain on the jungle gym. Do that activity. Pay close attention to all your senses as you do this. What muscles are you using? What do you see? How do you feel physically and mentally? How do you feel afterwards? What do you smell? When you finish, write a short piece about the activity. You can write in any form you feel like. Haiku, free verse, just a section of description if you like. It is entirely up to you. Disclaimer: I, Lilian Brennan, am not responsible for any injury incurred while participating in the writing exercise. Furthermore, I do not endorse or suggest the playing of king of the mountain on a jungle gym. You have been warned. Have fun. 

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