Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Write Club -- Week 1, 9/12

Hey y'all.  These are the notes for my first Write Club meeting.  Enjoy.

A. Introduction

Welcome to Write Club.  The first thing someone should do as a member of this club is to determine why they want to write.  Notedly, there are no random decisions.  Each of our choices is determined internally either consciously or subconsciously.  Even if a person purposes to be random, then they've chosen to be random because it suits them for whatever reason. 

Thus, there is always a reason why someone wants to write.  Some do it for entertainment, their sake or others.  Some write to make themselves sound smart.  Others do it for money or fame, which honestly isn't as shallow as it sounds.  You go to work for money, which you need to live, and why not earn money writing if you enjoy it?  As for the fame...okay, maybe that's shallow.  But the most unhealthy reason to write is to blab about other people's faults and pretend you're not really blabbing -- it's okay to base fiction off reality, but always watch yourself to make sure that you're not using it as a means to gossip or get revenge on others.  That's evil and manipulative, and turns you into a bitter whiner.  Don't do it.  Unless your name is Solzhenitzen, and you're writing an honest, unbitter account of a tragic time period, and even then the purpose of the writing is to tell the truth, and not to get revenge.

So why do you write?  Obviously if you've joined my group or are reading this blog, you have some interest in writing.  It doesn't have to be for one of the reasons I've written above.  People are dynamic creatures, and it's foolish to be too narrow about these things, despite human nature to categorize everything.  So why are you writing?  Did just just discover it one day and figure out that you liked it?  Did a teacher inspire you?  Did a famous writer inspire you?

I began writing because of Starcraft and I was bored in keyboarding class.  During a lull in class -- I think we were doing make up work or something -- I had nothing to do, so I put on mspaint and started puttering around.  I came up with this.

Goodbye dream, it's time to go
Sorry to leave you behind, with no one you know
Whatever happens, never flee
When I come home, once again you'll inspire me
Go forward no matter what you feel
And the time will come when you are real
As for now I must be gone, sad
For this world leaves me mad
Crazy it is, no changing it yet
It will when you come, I bet
No matter what
No matter
Little pink dreams

And it won me third place in a poetry contest.  I won a pizza.  As for Starcraft, I spent so much time thinking about the plot to the game and its expansion pack that I realized that I might as well write my thoughts down.

So what about you?

B. Purpose

For this part of Write Club, I'll be going over the ways to inspire oneself and force us to keep writing even when we feel like we don't know what we're doing and we have no inspiration.  Writer is not slave to Inspiration.  Inspiration is the slippery servant of the writer's imagination.  Soap is slippery and we still use it, and so we must do with inspiration.  Once you get this belief prepared in your mind, you will be able to become a professional writer.

For the rest of the year I'll be pushing you to write more.  There will be only a little focus on editing or publishing (unless the dynamics of the group change), but rather just generating words and making oneself put down one's efforts.  We'll be doing this primarily with the two minute write technique.  It's like the two minute hate from 1984, only with none of the hate.

The point of the two minute write is to prove that you can write even if you aren't inspired.  For the night's meeting, I started with this prompt:

"I like collard greens."
"I don't like collard greens."
"I don't know what collard greens are."

What you do is you take this prompt and start writing.  Make sure you're in sight of a clock or you have something with an alarm.  Set it for two minutes ahead, and start writing.  Pick whichever statement about collard greens which is true about you, and write.  Don't stop.  Don't think.  Take whatever is in your head and write it down.  Even if you change the subject onto something other than collard greens, just go on.  It doesn't matter what you write about so much, as just the fact that you're writing.  Keep going.

This is writing process number 1: force writing.  This way to write is good, but sort of frustrating because you may end up writing something that will not necessarily help you write a specific story.  However, it is useful in disproving the myth that you can't write if you're not inspired.

Next, set your timer or check your clock for the next five minutes, and then write down what you want to write.  Is it a specific story?  A specific idea?  Then take five minutes and write about it.  At the end of this five minutes, count how many words you wrote.  Then write down that number, and every day, write down that many words for your story.  There you go, a writing goal!  Write that every day.

Once you've done this, write a list of specific things you want to tell people, be they themes, awareness of world problems, or just helpful advice.  Whatever it is, write down this list.  There is always something inside every writer that will make that writer blow up if they don't write it down, so write it down.

Okay, now look at your list and pick out the most important word there.  Do you see a connection?  Make sure you pick a single world that basically summarizes or is the most important them you want to share.  The people in tonight's meeting picked love, wonder, and contentment.  I then told each of them to take a minute and think of specific things that make them feel loved, in awe, or contented.  This helped them generate ideas to figure out what story they want to write this year.

Next, I had each person switch over to the second process of writing: the barge process.  Think of it as one of those drop bridges that you have to lift when a boat is coming through.  Your thoughts are the barge, and the process of the barge going past the bridge is the process of you typing or writing in a notebook.  There must be a barge there if you wish to lift the bridge, otherwise you're disrupting traffic for nothing.  This is the equivalent of sitting in front of your computer and expecting something to happen when you don't know what you want to write.

So everyone had a minute to think of a specific place or places where they feel loved, in wonder, or contented.  This was really great.  One guy wrote about driving down the road in the fog (contentment), one girl wrote about rivers, oceans and lakes, and how these represent the different stages of love.  The wonder girl picked two places: Jerusalem and being in the desert on a starry night.  These all serve as different settings for your story, and once you have a setting, you can start working on your plot.

Okay, so that's all the notes of the last meeting.  Write down and work on these on your own even if you're not available for the meetings, and this will also help you figure out what you want to write as well.

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