September 1, 2010

Free Write: engage your beautiful brain

I’ve probably never been to your office. I don’t even know what you do for a living. But I bet you wish you expressed yourself creatively a bit more often. I bet there are days where you actually grieve your imagination like a missing limb—phantom twitches from it, this forgotten vibrant organ. When did life get so serious? When did your job take precedent over the simple pleasure of putting words on a page?

So maybe you should take 5, 10, 20 minutes for yourself today. Nothing serious. Nothing that will get you fired. Steal a small stash of time and write creatively.  I’m going to post writing exercises because our lives are better on days we use our imaginations.

Today’s prompt:

Write a scene in which a man—let’s call him Larry—is riding his bicycle home. He hasn’t had a particularly good day. He’s overtired, frustrated, pent up. He feels unappreciated at work, but he can’t afford to quit. He’s on his bike, and a car cuts him off, nearly hitting him. Everything would be okay if Larry just let it go, put the near miss out of his mind, simply continued to pedal and ignored the driver who cut him off. But he can’t. He’s angered. He’s so angered, in fact, that he takes one hand off the handlebars to give the driver the bird. This is when he loses control of the bike and goes flying, landing in a painful heap. What happens next?

Write the moment from Larry’s point of view, letting a reader experience his mood and his dilemma in an intimate way. It can be 1 page, 2 pages, 4 or 10. Whatever kind of time you have.

Or if you prefer this:

Write an Anger Manifesto: think of the thing that's pissing you off the most right now and do a 5-minute free write venting about it.  Don't line edit or tweak afterward.  Let it exist as a self-contained expression.  Do you feel a bit better with that off your chest?  :)

The most common thing I hear from my writing students is that their lives are so busy that they can’t find the time to write. But we can all spare a few minutes, so give this a try.

Have fun with it! There’s no pressure. Just do something creative. Feel free to send the finished exercise to me or send it to your friends, lovers, whomever. Or keep it for yourself. But you’ll feel better if you exercise your brain a bit. I promise.

Happy writing,

P.S. Please feel free to repost or forward this to anyone in your life whose imaginations are currently in solitary confinement and need a gentle nudge out into the light of day…