Friday, 25 May 2012

Words of comfort

Today is a bad pain day. It doesn't help that Melbourne has turned on nasty weather. The cold gets to every sore point in my body and renders me incapable of coherent thought. I follow all the guidelines that the pain specialists have given me; the treatments and medications barely make a dent. The pen is hard to grip but I can scribble a few words onto paper. They take me to another place where the world doesn't look like it does though today's icy window. It's a world infused with adventure and alternative lives. When writing becomes too much there are hardcopy books and the Kindle. The best therapy—words that are a distraction from a difficulty reality. 
They give me comfort when little else can.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Exercising your writing muscles

This month I've been doing a daily writing prompt exercise courtesy of Sherryl Clark's ebooks4writers. I'm on the website’s mailing list so in the morning the day’s prompts appear in my inbox and I can choose the time to do them. 

The prompts encourage me to do 10 min of writing every day - more if I want to. There are two sections - fiction and poetry and you don't have to do both. I have been doing both and have some spectacularly bad poetry to show for it! Luckily the writing is for my eyes only unless I choose otherwise.

It's been interesting exercise for a range of reasons. The first is that while love to write, I can't sit at the computer for long periods of time. This makes it difficult to stay in a regular writing rhythm but the prompt exercises, being short, overcome this. Like many writers, I carry a notebook everywhere and I write by hand. Today I did the prompts while waiting at the hairdresser. As a result of the impetus the prompts appearing in my inbox gives me, I have the start of possibly 18 short stories to date. Not all of them will attract me long-term but they are beginnings and story ideas I would not have had without the prompts.

The second is that the exercises till the soil for the rest of my writing. Today I found myself visiting my own slush pile of writing and looking at which pieces I could work on further. I also found my mind churning with new ideas. Again not all of them executable but nevertheless they show me that there is life in my writing yet. If you have a chance to get onto the site, do so and sign up. It’s not too late to get into it.

I've rediscovered how important it is to exercise the writing muscle, even if it’s a little each day. That’s how writing gets stronger.