Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Writing Exercises

I've mentioned several times that I'd like to write a children's book. In fact, I started one a few years ago, but once I got stuck, I put it away indefinitely. I've gotten it out a time or two since then and tried to work on it, but I'd hit that wall again and put it away. I'd think about it for a day or so, trying to work out the kinks, then I'd get busy with other things and forget about it again. Recently I've wanted to take it up again, but I know I'll see those difficult places again and put it away to ponder a while. Then I'll forget. Again.

While on one of our weekly library trips, I wandered into the section with writing guides. There are guide books for all sorts of writing: drama, comedy, stand-up, poetry, etc. I just wanted some practice. As I kept looking along the shelves, A Writer's Workbook caught my eye. I took it off the shelf and glanced through it. It looked promising, so I dropped it into the abyss of my library bag, along with several books the boys had chosen and a few other random things I had picked up.

Two weeks later, I finally opened it and began reading. Author Caroline Sharp talked about how you can't stop when you get stuck in your writing. You can't put it away and think the words will flow more easily the next time you put your pen to paper (or your fingers to the keyboard). Just as gymnasts and swimmers must practice before competitions, just as musicians must tune up before playing their instruments, writers must practice writing - finding the right words, getting into a flow of brain activity, etc.

Hmmm... There's something to that, and that's something I haven't been doing. Yes, I blog, but not consistently and not about anything of consequence. The writing I've been doing isn't doing anything to move me forward on my book.

So, I'm going to make an effort to follow through with the writing exercises in A Writer's Workbook to get my mind sharpened again. I'll post some of the exercises, but probably not all of them. In fact, the first "assignment" focuses on honing the power of description by writing about a circle, the color red, a bench, and 27 other random things. My first impression is that these won't make for interesting reading. Then again, they might. I'll post what is post-worthy and keep the rest hidden away.

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