Saturday, July 09, 2011

When the words get stuck


So what do you do when the words get stuck in your head? This usually happens for me when I am upset or busy, and my solution used to be to solve the problems, or hack down the to-do-list, and then get back to writing. That isn't possible any more. The problems are too big, the list too long, and I am not interested in waiting FOREVER to get back to work.

Two resources have helped me keep it going this summer:

750 Words 

From their home page:

I've long been inspired by an idea I first learned about in The Artist's Way called morning pages. Morning pages are three pages of writing done every day, typically encouraged to be in "long hand", typically done in the morning, that can be about anything and everything that comes into your head. It's about getting it all out of your head, and is not supposed to be edited or censored in any way. The idea is that if you can get in the habit of writing three pages a day, that it will help clear your mind and get the ideas flowing for the rest of the day. Unlike many of the other exercises in that book, I found that this one actually worked and was really really useful.


I've used the exercise as a great way to think out loud without having to worry about half-formed ideas, random tangents, private stuff, and all the other things in our heads that we often filter out before ever voicing them or writing about them. It's a daily brain dump. Over time, I've found that it's also very helpful as a tool to get thoughts going that have become stuck, or to help get to the bottom of a rotten mood.


750 Words is the online, future-ified, fun-ified translation of this exercise.

I write with reckless abandon, as fast as I can, not worrying about content.  I don't even go back and read it.  I just write.

Not only have I kept writing, but I have sorted out worries and ideas and dreams and plans.  750 Words  is a brilliant resource.

On a more creative and less time consuming note, there is The One-Minute Writer. In their words, "You have 1,440 minutes a day. Use one of them to write." Complete with a one-minute timer in the sidebar, this site provides you with the prompt for the day and the ring-a-ling to let you know when your time is up. I simply open up a word document, think about the prompt for a moment, hit the timer and write. One minute is all it takes to get the creative juices flowing. I plan to include The One-Minute Writer in my lesson plans for the coming school year. 

6 comments:

Quotidian Life said...

I have so many stuck words--love that phrase. Even your stuck words are just right. I'd like to check out your resources--I can't honestly imagine writing with reckless abandon, but that would be fun to try.

A Circle of Quiet said...

I can only write with reckless abandon if I don't re-read and if I don't let ANY person see it, Melissa. It has helped a lot to practice imperfection. I am getting quite good at imperfection (-:

Di

Carol in Oregon said...

I love these ideas and plan to use them myself.

The time just flies doesn't it? I like the discipline that a daily exercise brings.

Thank you!

Donna Boucher said...

(( hugs))
I'm sorry to hear of your very big problems.

I should take this writing thing much more seriously.

Cindy Marsch said...

Great ideas. I love one-minute concept for my online classes! And as for me, well, I could use some discipline in yet another area -- writing! Sigh.

Anne Weiland said...

Inspirational ideas! And I can see how writing three pages would help sort out THE PROBLEMS a bit.