Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ways to get started writing

As a writing coach and teacher, I’m always looking for good prompts and writing ideas that will serve me and my clients. I start my writing support groups with a 10-minute warm-up that’s often based on something that’s happened in my life or something I’ve overheard. The recent workshop I took with Kim Stafford afforded me many ideas. Here is some of what I heard and thought of during those two days. Write about:

Something you don’t know
A foray into the unknown
Spirits most restless and crude
Do what you’re doing
Clicking my ruby slippers
I don’t fish.
Pay attention with all you have.
Sleep sets in
Acceptance is as necessary as oxygen
And so it was
How true you are
Deep ocean loneliness
Occasionally, a storm
I want to be yours again
I owe you three poems
The next paradigm
The library of consolations
Too proud and defended
He strayed into coherence
A place in yourself that is tight, dark, forgotten

Kim also shared some of the advice that his father, poet William Stafford, shared with his students and with his son. I liked some of these a lot. They bear keeping in mind.

To get started, accept anything that occurs to you.
Write when it’s least possible to write
Do something every day to advance the human project.
Writing stimulates the fountain; it does not deplete the reservoir.

And perhaps most importantly, don’t compare yourself to your expectations.

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