I went for the first session of my creative writing course yesterday. After much searching, my husband found the place for me, and the sweet soul that he is, dropped me inside and only left after making sure that the class was on.
The teacher is a bookstore owner who also runs a small publishing firm. I already knew most of the basic stuff we talked about yesterday, and the exercise we have for the 10 week, 20-hour course is common enough as well.
Write 1000 words a day.
I am sure this sounds familiar to all aspiring writers.
But the interesting part is that these 1000 words have to be deeply personal stuff, an exorcism of inner demons, a purging of whatever has been bothering us. Being intensely private, we are not required to show our writing to anyone, but the teacher tells us that if we are honest with ourselves and wake up early each morning to write a 1000 words, it would make a difference.
This is supposed to be useful in a few ways:
- We can use this later as a resource for our writing (somewhat like in method acting where you call up a particular emotion from your experience for the camera), when we have to write about an intense emotion in our characters.
- It is somehow going to unlock the doors, and unleash the writer within us.
- It is writing practice, a way to develop a habit of writing consistently everyday.
I am not sure how this will work, or if it will work at all, but I have decided to take this seriously. Even though I was late waking up today I did not get on with the day till I had finished the 1000 words.
Somehow, they were surprisingly easy, less than an hour and I was done.
I am not sure I can keep the discipline for 70 days, but there is certainly no harm in trying very, very hard. I am traveling early in the morning tomorrow, but of course I plan to wake up earlier than required and finish the 1000.
Exercising inner demons? I guess this would be great if things were chaotic in your life but having done the “deeply” personal kind of writing, I can tell you that life would have to hovering in the bottom levels of Dante’s Inferno for me to find 70,000 words to write about it. Even at its bleakest, I wouldn’t have been able to do that.
What is it about writing teachers and deep revelatory writing? Personally, having taught composition at middle and high school, I am not a fan of the “just write and wonderful things will emerge” school of thought. But I do think that making yourself write daily is good for the writing “muscles”.
Interesting to hear how this goes.
Not blog content. Not fiction. It has to be something that has touched you deeply in life, the good, the bad, the ugly. As I said, an exorcism of sorts!
What a wonderful husband you have! Are the 1000 words related to your fiction or can it be 1000 words about anything eg. blog content?
Look forward to hearing about your progress.
Darc, yes, it is. And I’m afraid I slipped up the day before. But I wrote the 1000 yesterday, and am about to do so today, let us see how this goes.
No, Janet, am too glued to my mac all day to be journaling on paper….it is all on comp, stored away under lock and key:)
Do you practice with a paper journal?
1000 words a day … that’s a great goal. Not an easy one, but a good one. Very attainable, so long as you have something to write about.
Good luck with your course. 🙂