By: Joe Bunting
I’m sure this never happens to you, but there are times when I don’t feel very creative. We just had a new baby (our second), bought a house (our first), and are now busy managing a thousand new details. All the busywork and bill paying leaves me feeling pretty dry.
But no matter how un-creative I’m feeling, there’s one creative writing exercise that never fails to fire up my writing.
Why We Need Creative Writing Exercises Like This
I’ve worked with hundreds of writers in the last five years, and I’ve found that the biggest killer of creativity is perfectionism. (Share that on Twitter?)
“This is so bad,” we think after one
particularly difficult sentence. “Why would
anyone read this? Why would I want to read this? I
thought I was better than this. I thought I was talented. So why am I producing
And so on…
Sometimes, writers don’t even allow themselves to go through this kind of painful monologue. Instead, they put off writing altogether, procrastinating until the very last minute, then whipping something together that may not be very good but at least it’s done!
The creative writing exercise I’m going to talk about in this post is designed specifically to combat that kind of perfectionism.
Where Does Perfectionism Come From?
Perfectionism begins with pride. “I’m so talented how could I not write the next great book? Bestseller? More like best book of the century.” (Full disclosure: this used to be me.)
Or, for the slightly less narcissistic, “I may not be the best, but I have the best idea. And what’s more, I care the most.”
Unfortunately, this kind of pride doesn’t survive “contact with the enemy”: the blank page.
I’ve watched so many writers be humiliated and completely demoralized by the process of writing.
“I never want to do this again,” they confess to me, usually when they’re about two-thirds of the way through writing their first book. “Writing is horrible. Miserable. I’m horrible! Why did I ever think it was a good idea to write this?
to write at all?!”
Neither of these two postures—pride and despair—are helpful if you want to create great work.
What’s missing? What’s the secret ingredient writing in a way that both displays your
natural that is both an absolute joy to write and your best possible work?
The secret ingredient is PLAY.
That’s right, the same thing that toddlers are so good at is the key to writing your best work.
This Writing Exercise Brings the Joy Back to Writing—Here’s How
How do you play with writing?
Two words: modernist poetry
Pioneered by poets like Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot, modernist poetry often makes very little sense. In fact, it can sometimes even seem like gibberish, like a Rauschenberg lithograph.
And that’s what makes it such a great exercise. Because it allows you to play with words in a way that the
perfectionistic side of your brain won’t be
able to stop.
5 Steps to This Writing Exercise
I’ve broken it up into five steps so simple a two-year-old could follow them:
. . .
Read the full article HERE!
If you missed my writing & marketing tweets and retweets yesterday, here they are again:
- What Marketing Support Looks Like at a Big 5 Publisher | Jane Friedman http://ow.ly/NFmTT
- 5 Mistakes Writers Make (and How to Avoid Them) | WritersDigest.com http://ow.ly/NFosM
- Delivering Emotional Punches in Writing | The Indie Writer's Guide http://ow.ly/NFoBs
BookEndsLiterary Agency: Why You Should Resist Giving Agents Exclusives http://ow.ly/NFoH2
- Author Networking, Part 3: How to Connect With Other Authors on Facebook and Twitter | Author Marketing Institute http://ow.ly/NFp6h
- Between Fact and Fiction: Writing, Publishing, & Solitaire http://ow.ly/NFrro
- Making a Dark Character Likeable through Vulnerabilities | Writerology http://ow.ly/NFxht
- Don't waste time with unnecessary words. - Venture Galleries http://ow.ly/NFxjN
- Be a More Productive & Balanced Writer | Jane Friedman http://ow.ly/NFxl9
- Wake Up and Stop Writing Dream Sequences | LitReactor http://ow.ly/NFzra
- Twitter Marketing: How Smart Marketers Are Succeeding Social Media Examiner http://ow.ly/NFzCw
- Radio 101 for Authors – How to get on the air and shine once you’re there | The Coconut Chronicles http://ow.ly/NFzSr
- Google Play Books is a Safe Haven for Commercial eBook Piracy | Ink, Bits, & Pixels http://ow.ly/NFzVm
- Fiction University: Be Flexible When Plotting (and Writing) Your Novel http://ow.ly/NFzXD
- Karen Woodward: Getting Motivated To Write http://ow.ly/NFzYW
Fun CreativeWriting Exercise Will Change Your Life http://ow.ly/NFA1e
- Anne R. Allen's Blog: REALITY CHECK: Mixed Martial Arts For Writers http://ow.ly/NGCjI