Breathing to Write – writing prompt

bubbling stream and iciclesAs always with my workshops, I started last week’s session for the Montreal Branch of Canadian Authors Association with some somatic exercises. I enjoy how the exercises energize and relax, and especially how they shift attention from the ever-present lists of ‘must-do’, ‘mustn’t forget’ and ‘what time is it?’ of everyday life to the here and now of simply being in the moment – perfect preparation for writing.

Today I thought I’d use one of my favorite somatic exercises as a writing prompt.

First the exercise:

  • Sit right on your sitz-bones with your back away from the chair-back, feet flat on the floor. Close your eyes. Simply breathe.
  • Now take a few moments to listen to the sounds around you… What do you hear in the room? Can you hear sounds beyond the room, outside on the street? As soon as you’ve identified one sound, move on to another. Make sure you hear them all, even the most faint or distant ones.
  • Try listening with your right ear only. With your left ear only.
  • Let all that go and just breathe.
  • Now listen to the sounds inside you. What do you hear?

The writing:

  • List everything you heard.
  • Choose 4-6 words.
  • For each of these words, brainstorm for other words that
    • start or end with the same consonant (beat brag butter bemuse…trait trot template)
    • use the same vowels (beat eke delete elongate…)
    • rhyme (beat feet greet…).
  • Go with the flow – feel free to shift at any time to a word that has come out of the brainstorming and continue brainstorming with that word’s consonants, vowels, rhyme. (beat eat delete limp late long song simmer saturate…). Hear the sounds of the words as you write. Say them out loud.
  • Let the words turn into phrases, the phrases into sentences. Keep moving forward, letting the sounds inspire you. Pull in any of the brainstormed words as and when you feel like it.
  • If you find it hard to write from the flow, start speedwriting using the words in your list.
  • Can you work with both sense/meaning and sound or does it have to be one or the other?

Let me know how it goes. Have a good writing week.

“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.” Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar


3 thoughts on “Breathing to Write – writing prompt

  1. Pingback: The Writing Body: 8 Quick Exercises For A Healthy Writing Year | Susi Lovell

  2. Pingback: The Sound Of Words: Writing Lessons From The Birds | Susi Lovell

  3. Pingback: For Reading Out Loud! Preparing to Read Your Story in Public | Susi Lovell

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