Need A Creative Boost? Wild Write!

This year I set out to write a ‘Blurt’ – what I now think of as a ‘Wild Write’ – every week. I wasn’t very precise about what I intended, just that I wanted to make the most of a few spare minutes by writing something new (most likely fiction) that I would commit to posting on my blog.

Why?

I was looking for a creative boost.

I needed to find a way to look afresh at my collection of stories and novella. I’d been working on them for quite a while and they had become just too familiar. I was hungry to get into new stories but wasn’t prepared to commit a lot of time to new material as my priority was to finish the collection.

I was nervous! Would I be able to write something quickly that could be made public? Was I crazy to go against the advice of people far more experienced than myself?

“Don’t waste time on a blog,” I’d read. “Focus on your ‘real’ writing.”

“Don’t post stories on your blog as they will then be considered published and no journal will accept them,” was another piece of advice.

But I decided to go ahead all the same.

With just over Continue reading

In a Strange Place: Writing Lesson From The Woman In Gold

Since April 2 this year, Gustav Klimt’s painting Adele Bloch-Bauer I, the Woman in Gold, has been the centerpiece of a special exhibition at the Neue Galerie in New York.

In the painting, Adele stands radiant, hands delicately curved towards her chest, wearing a dazzling bejewelled dress, dark hair coiffed high.

On a lower floor of the Neue Galerie, in a passage near the toilets, hangs a related display of pictures. These were created by students in Vienna, the original home of the painting, who were asked to imagine Continue reading

Staying In The Story – A Look At Orphan Black

Agony, agony! I missed two episodes of “Orphan Black” while on holiday!

Right from the first episode, I’ve been a committed fan. Even though I watch quite a bit of it with my hand over my eyes, asking my husband “What’s happening now?” “Has she got away?” “Have they seen her?” “Ew! Ugh! Have they finished yet? Tell me when this bit’s over.”

Like being pulled into a novel, being held captive by a movie or tv series is a wonderful experience. What fun to be drawn into another world!

How do you hold your viewer or reader captive? Continue reading

Snow Rage: Writing Lesson From A Snowy Sidewalk

I’m clumping along on my ‘grippers’ – grampons attached to boots for icy sidewalks – to the pharmacy. Only a narrow strip of sidewalk has been cleared between the two banks of high snow.

Inevitably I’m going to come face to face with someone heading in the opposite direction. Who will be the one to step aside, into the snow, and wait for the other to pass? Me? Or the other person? Continue reading

Writing Advice From The Sword: What Fencing Can Teach Writers

unpacking sabersWhat’s a writer to do when winter just goes on and on and it’s March and there’s still snow on the ground and minus temperatures? Take up fencing.

As a movement artist-educator I’ve always believed that changing and challenging your usual ways of moving is an effective and pleasurable way to energize yourself and boost your creative thinking.

Fencing is certainly making my brain sizzle. And there’s the bonus of getting writing advice too!

1. Don Protective Gear Continue reading

Be Inspired: October Grab Bag of Exercises, Links, Ideas

Mother Earth, sculpture, Canadian entry at Mosaicultures Internationales, Montreal 2013

Mother Earth

I’m always excited and immensely grateful to come across links and ideas that inspire me to write and think and dream. Here are some I’ve been enjoying recently that I’d like to share with you.

Writing Warm-Up: a right-left brain exercise

  1. Touch your right thumb to your left little finger, let go, then touch left thumb to right little finger. Let go.
  2. Touch right second finger to left fourth finger, release, then left second finger to right fourth finger. Let go.
  3. Right middle finger to left middle finger. Turn hands over Continue reading

Quick-Thinking Witch Flies AND Has Fun! Dealing With the Unexpected!

Hallowe'en witch at Montreal's Botanical Gardens 2013

Montreal Botanical Gardens

A couple of days ago my husband and I were visiting Montreal’s Botanical Gardens with friends from the UK. As the sun went down, it quickly got cold so we took the ‘short cut’ through the greenhouses to warm up with the tropical plants. After a long, very pleasant walk through the greenhouses, we finally came to the last one which was filled with pumpkins decorated by school kids and a witch sitting knitting outside her house.

She was chatting away to herself, and to anyone passing by. Her nose was long and hooked, her voice high pitched, her laugh squeaky and very contagious through the little microphone. She stroked her oversize cat and Continue reading

Writing Exercise for Narrative Energy: Juxtaposing Multiple Ways a Character Experiences the World

David Moore's 1994 sculpture Site/Interlude, Musée de Plein Air de Lachine

Site/Interlude by David Moore

In life we constantly shift between different ways of experiencing the world – between inner and outer lives, between doing and thinking, dreaming, remembering, talking, between being (in one’s body) and interacting with people, things. We shift between emotions, between judging, enjoying and complaining, between sensing and moving.

Forcing a character to experience similar rapid shifts disrupts linear thinking, often producing Continue reading

Playing With Words: Sentence Experiments – Writing Exercise

Shadows II by Jaume Plensa MMBA on loan from Georges Marciano

Shadows II by Jaume Plensa
MMBA on loan from Georges Marciano

Nothing perks up a piece of prose – and a writer – more than playing around with sentence structures.

A fun exercise I especially enjoy is to take a sentence that feels totally alien and try to write my own sentence in exactly that same style. Why? To surprise myself. To kick myself out of my same old same old ho-hum sentence habits. To discover new rhythms.

“I’m playing with words” Virginia Woolf

The Exercise Continue reading

Lost Moments Found: Writing the Moment of Waiting

flight to Bella BellaLike everyone else, my life is full of moments of waiting – at the doctor’s or dentist’s, at a bus or train station, for a flight, for my loved ones! Ideal times for writing, right? Not for me. I find it very difficult to write creatively unless I know I have a good long chunk of time ahead when I know I will not be disturbed. This is partly because, I have to admit, it takes me so long to settle down to writing, but also because I need lots of time to lose myself in my story. And how can I let go and sink into the story when I have to watch the time or listen for a flight or train number or for my name to be called? But what a waste of good writing time!

I used to travel a lot for work and couldn’t bear not to use the hours of waiting Continue reading