Wednesday, 3 August 2011

One-Word Wonders

Now, a FYI post. I've just discovered a very interesting site called which offers a great exercise for writers. Namely, a word. The site offers a random word and a 1-minute timer that demands (well, not demands - encourages or entices)  you write for one-minute on that word. No thinking, just writing. 

You can then submit your writing and have a look at all the other entries. For an undisciplined writing creature like myself, this exercise provides a pleasant mandatory writing routine, a  type of shake-it-loose jazz hands warm-up to the arena of the blank page. And unlike other writing exercises - in writing groups for example - there's no audience hanging  on your every word, claws at the ready. This exercise is quite fun and freeing. Especially when the word yields all kinds of weird and wonderful results!

As writers, it's imperative that we write every day, even when the Muse is on strike. And free-writing is the best way of kicking off some words when it is. Twisting, turning, curving, rambling, revelatory stream-of-consciousness free writing that can spiral into splendour very easily. Don't think, just write. Because thinking gets in the way of writing. 

Writing is a very subconscious thing. What we uncover during writing comes from the deep well of wisdom within. This can be seen especially in free-writing. Logic doesn't get time to figure in it; it's all wild and chaotic and raw and coloured with energy and potential. Free-writing delves into the real magic of writing, the conjuring and pulling white rabbits out of a hat aspects. Free-writing offers a peep into the huge brimming writing potential we have. And also brings up our deepest feelings. There's nowhere to hide in free-writing; it is oursleves we pull out of the hat, naked and honest and vulnerable. (Maybe this is why it's a tool used to great effect in psycho-therapy practices.) Want to peer into the deep recesses of the self? Write. Words will be your mirror and your map. 

I'm always amazed at how some writers can get fragments of stories out of these one word selections, even beginnings and plots! Me, I'm mostly a rambling poet at heart and come up with images or surreal stream-of-consciousness cacophonies mostly, but one day I might just progress to stories... For now, here's some of the concoctions I came up with in all their 1-minute frenzied authenticity:

'Serendipity' - The lovely starry fizz of night-sky approval. A constellation of coincidences mapping the way, to sprinkles and ice-cream and all kinds of knickerbocker glory. 
'Abracadabra' -  Black hat, white rabbit, red curtains. Stage, audience, silence. And a baton of belief. Poof! Ahhh! Amazement.
'Boiling' - Hubba bubba as I boil and steam and seethe. Temper tantrum taking over cool temperament. Whistle and hum and bubble and stir some trouble up. My anger tees me off.
'Drama' - D-ream. Grrr and arrghhh and ouch and oww! Leather-clad drama-queen enter stage-centre. Bellow and howl and roar everything asunder. Big mouth, scarlet look-at-me listen-to-me lips. I bring you tidings of great importance: me, me, and me!  (Or, my heart is a gramophone that demands to be heard.)   
'Level' -I am level with my consciousness. No see-saw up-and-downing of doubt. I can see for miles. I am etched in lines and logic. They way is level, obstacles omitted. /I want to take things up a notch. To the next level. But do I have to climb to get there. Abseil up? Take an elevator or escalator? Defeat an end-of-level Boss? Or simply step up. 
'Regret' - Like a raw wound sore festering on my skin. Bleeding oozing pus of what ifs, what could have beens. Take a sledge-hammer to my heart and end it painlessly.        There you have it. So go ahead, try it. Don't be scared; let your pen roam free over the paper, fingers over keys. They know what they're doing even if your mind has yet to catch up.
Flying the flag of free-writing,         
~ Siobhán.                    
P.S/ Read more one-word wonders  here
And more of my entries here

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