One of the surprise treats of the writers conference last month was meeting writing coach, Jamie Morris. With wit, humor and wisdom, she made a group of strangers feel comfortable enough to share prose so freshly written that it was “newborn.”
As in minutes old.
How did she do it? She gave us an irresistible prompt. And now, I’m going to share that magical prompt with you.
1) Choose one each of the following: a color (or two), a season and a verb
2) Now write, non-stop, for twelve minutes. No periods, commas or other punctuation. Just words on a page.
Essentially that was the whole prompt. Simple enough really, but therein lay the magic. After the first line, I basically stopped thinking consciously and just let it happen. I discovered thoughts I didn’t know I had. It was fantastic.
Some of what I turned out was absolute dreck, but I didn’t mind, because some of it was beautiful and really, even in a traditional writing session, who can ask for better than that? At least until you edit. (Then, of course, you need to have a very low dreck tolerance threshold, or DTT for short.) And in the context of a first draft, you can’t ask for better than, “some of it was beautiful.” Most of the time I’m lucky to get, “some of it wasn’t boring.” It was immensely freeing to have so little to get “wrong.”
So now, you try it. Select your words, or have a compassionate friend aid and abet your addiction by selecting for you. And, to paraphrase one of my favorite comedians, “Write, be free.”