Thursday, September 20, 2012

Write Club: Week 2 -- 9/19

For this meeting, I thought I would have to do a recap of last week's meeting.  As it turned out, we only had one new person show up.  I was hoping for more, but this thing is to be expected.  People can be enthused about something, but then their excitement wanes.  Besides, I like having a smaller group anyway because we can discuss more.

For starters, we did a two minute forced write on what fruit that person believes they are.  Why don't you do one too?  I picked blueberry because they're not really blue.  They're very different from what their outside implies.

During this meeting I discussed information, and training your brain to make itself be creative.  The thing is, usually the places that inspire us are not the places where we write.  One member of our club was inspired by the lighting section at Lowes, and another was inspired by gas stations.  But nobody ever writes at those places.  We write at home, in our room or on our couches.  So the key is to force ourselves to be creative in the places that we write.

The trick is to think.  You know how you are lying in bed about to go to sleep when suddenly an inspiring idea hits you?  No, sleep isn't inspiration.  The thing is, when you're trying to go to sleep, you're not doing anything.  You're laying there.  Your mind is getting settled down, and has nothing to do.  It therefore makes up stuff to do.  So the trick is to just relax in your room and think.  It helps me to clean my room first.  For some reason whether or not my bed is made has an affect on my concentration.

It can also help to do a purely physical activity.  I can't tell you how many times I was washing dishes at my old job and then suddenly I was inspired.  Again, my hands were busy but my brain was not.  Therefore my brain had to do something to keep itself busy.

One member of the club reported that whenever she tried to write, she would start thinking of all the things she needed to do instead.  This seems to be a pretty common thing.  Look, don't do this to yourself.  Unless someone's going to die or you'll lose your job or something like that if the thing doesn't get done, then don't worry about it.  Sit down and write a few minutes.  If you type for five minutes, you'll get over 200 words.  200 words per day is more than 0 words per day.  You can manage that.  This blog is already double that much.

It's funny that one of us mentioned Lowes.  I was just there the other day, and I picked up some paint picture samples.  I hope the employees don't get mad that I do that.  In any case, I picked up a couple, ripped them apart because there were three to a card, and then set them face down.  I had each member pick one.  Each of these had a picture of a room in a house, and certain unique features about them.  I remember in particular one where they had feathers in a vase.

So what they were supposed to do with these pictures is decide exactly what sort of person would live in such a room.  The room with the feathers in the vase seemed to imply that someone hired an interior decorator and that the people who lived in that house didn't come home often.  Another member got a picture of a really atrocious room that had a half pink and half purple room, so she decided it was inhabited by a girl whose mother was trying to force her into being more girly.

What we learned from this exercise was that even when we don't feel inspired, we can write.  Even when a room is boring, ugly, or has feathers in a vase, we can still use our imagination to figure out who lives there.  They did a great job forcing themselves to write, and in only five minutes, the writers came up with some really good stuff.

So that was this night's meeting.  Next week I plan on talking about characters.

Cliff Notes:
- Two minute forced write: what fruit are you?
- Move the place of inspiration to the place where you write.
- Not inspired?  Relax and let your mind work on its own.
- No, your chores can wait a little.

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