Jun 6, 2010

Start Again, and Again, and...

After a week of little or no writing because I was too busy, I realised I had my mindset all wrong. I was thinking that I needed spare time to write. When is that ever going to come? No, instead of waiting for spare time, I needed to make writing time.

I revisited the audiobook Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg (because I don't think I gave it enough attention the first time and I've been going a little overboard with my book purchases lately). One of the exercises suggested sounded interesting.
Golberg recommends taking a first line from a poem or novel (choosing randomly by just opening the page) and using it as a prompt to riff-write (I've done a post on riff-wriitng before, you can find it here). You just write anything that comes to mind, don't worry if it sounds irrelevant to your story at first. When you start to get stuck, or your writing goes off in a tangent that is unhelpful, stop. Then rewrite that first line and start again. A fresh start. Write until it no longer feels right, then stop. Write the first line again, and off you go.

I did this with a line from a poem; "I can't remember a time when I did not know you." I couldn't see the connection, but I put my trust in the task and wrote. Then I tried again. And again. What I found was a new subplot in my narrative that opens up my characters, creates conflict and explains motives for my main story problem.

So no excuses, must make writing time every day.

I also want to say a huge THANK YOU to Shannon from Book Dreaming for her wonderful post about my daughters' book review blog: Paper Dolls. Please check out the Book Dreaming post - it's beaut! (Aussie slang for 'pretty darn good!').


  1. That sounds like a good idea. When I'm stuck I tend to actually write a poem. It's a nice way to start and finish something in one sitting. It also gets my creative juices flowing.

    Shannon is wonderful to plug your daughter's blog. And rightly so! It's fantastic!

  2. Writing down the bones is a great book on writing! I'd forgotten that excercise. Thanks.
    And I LOVE Shannon's blog!
    Yeah to your daughter's blog too!

  3. I've never done that exercise before - sounds like a very good one - thanks :)

  4. It is about making time to write! Because we fill our days so full of other things. I have to choose: laundry or write? Groceries or write?

  5. That's a very interesting and creative tip. Thanks.

  6. Wow, Charmaine, what an awesome way to start when someone is stuck in a rut. I never thought of that...and now I'm off to Amazon to look more into "Writing Down the Bones" because it seems like just the book for me. Thanks for the helpful hint and the book suggestion! Write on!

    P.S. I really like your daughter's site; it's awesome!

  7. Great tip! Thanks for sharing.