This exercise combines three aspects we’ve covered in Part One: freewriting, the writing diary and reflective commentary.
- Freewriting. Consider this quote, which is said to come from the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg: “Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” Think about this quote for a minute or two, then complete a five-minute free write about these thoughts.
My passion is where my source, light and strengths will come as a writer. I’m very open about my life and experiences, both positive and negative. This authentic writing style has helped me to develop an online community and to build relationships. I do not hide my madness. I can also see that this authenticity will be a huge bonus in writing short stories or a novel. Writing about what I know. My opening idea for Sophie Lives comes from my experience of being abused and from my understanding of domestic violence and the tragedy that in the UK 2 women are murdered every week by their current or ex partner. This is something that I feel angry about. Writing from Sophie’s perspective of abuse and recovery is something that has the potential to be powerful.
- Writing Diary. Read your freewrite through and think about your writing journey – the good and the difficult parts to this exercise. Make notes in your writing diary about the experience. Be as open as you like – only you will read this account.
Firstly, other people will read through my account. I don’t mind this. My community matters to me and I welcome feedback and interaction with others. However, there are some pieces of writing that will remain behind closed doors until they are complete and ready to be seen. For example, I will only reveal one more small passage from Sophie Lives, and then I’ll develop the rest of the novel in private.
Writing from a prompt has been easier than I have expected it to be. It’s a very good way to approach and develop writing. I can see why the notebook is so important, it will become a source of my own ideas and prompts, which are far better than the prompts from others. Having a starting point that comes from the heart will be the driving force of successful creative writing.
- Reflective commentary. Read through the notes you’ve just made on the original exercise and start to think how much of this you’d want to share with your tutor. Also think why you’d want to share this. (Check the ‘two-fold purpose’ above.)
I have absolutely no problem with sharing anything I write with my tutor. I feel no shame about my writing, I don’t fear critique; the opposite is true, I value feedback from my tutor, she’s an experienced author and can guide me on my journey. Yes my reflection is self-critique and this is highly valuable in developing myself, I get that, it will be a source of strength, but I’m open to my tutor reading anything I write.
Freewriting will also be a source of overcoming writers block, which all writers experience from time to time. I had creative blocks while I was studying photography, and getting out and taking photos for enjoyment and developing personal practice helped me to move forward. It’s no different with writing. It troubles me that creative writers on the course are not expected to have a blog and are encouraged to secrecy. Why should creative writers be treated differently than other students? Yes we do need to keep personal projects behind closed doors until they are complete and ready to be published, but coursework doesn’t need secrecy.
I have decided to have one post for my notebook so that I’m not having to continuously open different posts on my blog to recall ideas, that could be quite a painful thing to do, and I’d lose track of ideas and themes.
Something that I could journal or explore as I go through counselling.
Pronouns – they/them
Wearing a blouse in public
Stew and dumplings
I can smell the sweet aroma of stew and dumplings in kentish town road. It makes me want to find out where its coming from and to eat it. I’m going to have to find a recipee, make it and see if I can write poetically about it. My cousin makes it in a slow cooker and it doesn’t have the same aroma. Maybe a few hours in the cooker will be the best way.
First, go to http://weareoca.com/creative_writing/how-many-notebooks-does-it-take-to/ to read more about keeping a writers notebook.
Now decide what kind of notebook works for you and get a supply in (or just make use of your phone or tablet or other device – whatever suits you). Go out for a walk near where you live, or in your lunch break at work. Jot down a few things in your notebook: It doesn’t matter what – descriptions of your surroundings, thoughts about any people you pass, or any other thoughts that pass through your mind.
Get in the habit of having a notebook with you as much as possible and try to use it every day for a week.
When I set up the pages on my blog for creative writing I set up a page for my notebook. I’ve decided to keep my notebook online. It’s more practice for me as I take my phone with me everywhere. I used to be a paper and pen kind of person, but with my studies over the past couple of years I have embraced technology. There are some things that I write down in a physical notebook, perhaps the occasional idea that I want to build upon before it goes on my blog, but I may post them and password protect them at some point, so that I can keep my writing in one place. What’s more, digitising my notebook means that I can upload photos as I go along, such as my exploration of spring.
I’ve also decided that it’s probably for the best if I stick to having one post that I add to so that all of my ideas are in the same place.
“And it wasn’t just that I’d never let go during sex, it was that I’d never truly let go in any experience I’d ever had.” (p138)
This is why photography is so important to me. I let go as a photographer. I am free to be in the moment, at peace even at peace with my insanity. My camera is my haven.
“The girl who has already got out, leans back into the cab, as if she wants to give me a kiss, but I’m too far from her. ‘Have a nice life. ‘ she tells me. ‘Have a beautiful life.’ I laugh, charmed, and say ‘I’ll try.’ She looks suddenly earnest, totally serious. ‘Please do.’ she tells me.” (p142)
Beaumont, S; 2008; Thirteen; Newcastle Upon Tyne ; Myrmidon
“A lifetime clearly lay between them, and I had a sense that their affection was coloured by a mutual disapproval that was very real, yet to weak to break their bonds.”
Beaumont, S; 2008; Thirteen; Newcastle Upon Tyne; Myrmidon Books LTD
I met a nice man in the bar of the golf club, and he invited me for a round of golf. I said “sure James, that would be lovely.”
We walked down to the first tee. On the way I explained that I used to play as a junior but had not played since.” I haven’t any clubs” I said, “may I borrow yours please?” The first hole was a par four that went over a beautiful lake with trees on the far bank. He took his shot from the pro tees and I from the ladies. To be honest I was proud of my ball flying through the air and over the trees, I knew it would be near the green. His was further away. He took his second shot and walked towards the green, passing me a 7 iron on the way. I lined my feet up and addressed the ball, it landed right near the hole. This was clearly my lucky day.
My notebook will probably mean nothing to you. It’s a page for recording inspiration, ideas and points of interest that I may or may not use at a future date.
Terry Pratchet – comedy
“Now her second thoughts were at work, thinking about what she was thinking.” p63 The Shepherds Crown, Pratchet.
Seeing the doors left me curious as to who lived behind them and questions as to what the walls have witnessed.