Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Writing Exercise! And something icky...

First, for the icky...

For a couple days, I smelled something funky in the living room.  The first time I said, "Well, maybe one of the dogs farted" (I have boxers... they fart BAD sometimes).  The next time... "well, maybe it's just that nasty low-fat sausage I made for breakfast lingering in the air".  A couple days later I found myself moving furniture, convinced I was going to find a rotting mouse.  Flustered and out of cubby holes on the ground to check, I realized I hadn't taken my fall decor down.  I picked up a pumpkin... PUMPKIN! I moved on to the next one--it was fine. The next... ROTTEN, COLLAPSED, WHITE FUZZY MOLD, LIQUID OOZING OUT THE BOTTOM! Seriously smelled like something died.  Note to self: Next year if you buy real pumpkins again and insist on putting them on the entertainment center shelves, put plastic wrap underneath FIRST!

Now, onto the writing exercise!  

I met up with a friend of mine (newly reacquainted thanks to Facebook of all things) who happens to have a masters in, get this, CREATIVE WRITING!  We met for bagels and did a one hour exercise that helped her through her novel (which she had to turn in for her thesis AND defend--no THANKS!) four years ago.  

Here are the rules:

Decide what you're going to work on: editing, organize your chapters, just write forward without going back, etc... (I read through the first 6 chapters of Anemone and wrote out character attributes to organize my character sketches; my friend organized her timeline to find holes)

Set the timer

Just work on that ONE aspect for the WHOLE HOUR

MOVE FORWARD at all times

NO BREAKS (no potty breaks, no drink breaks, no email or social networking--niente!)

Don't stop at a "good stopping point" because you need to be excited to come back to it and make time for the next hour--stop when the timer dings at you! "PENCILS DOWN!"

When you are finished with the hour, take your break and prep to keep going for the next hour, or shut 'er down until the next time you're free to work for an hour straight.

I absolutely LOVED this exercise.  It's simple, relatively easy to squeeze in here and there, and you get a LOT accomplished when you don't allow yourself any distractions!

Now set that timer! GO!  


  1. That's a good exercise. I take a lot of breaks if I'm distracted. The best work I get done is when I'm forced to sit in one spot.

  2. Sounds like a good exercise...I'm going to have to do this at some point!

  3. a whole HOUR? Of concentrating on one thing?

    Well. It's a good idea. But I might have to make my goal 30 minutes...


  4. Good one. And totally doable, if kids are asleep...

  5. This is so great. If I could just focus for that long I know I would get so much more done.

  6. now i'm thinking i really ought to pull the punk'ins off the porch...
    this writing exercise sounds like what i have to do to get anything done...
    but a time limit! that's a great idea! that way i wouldn't feel the pressure to go on all night and overwhelmed! :)

  7. We had two little pumpkins, one from my classroom that was carved, and one from my daughter's preschool that wasn't, mixed in with our plastic ones that the kids have painted each year. Mine that was carved rotted in 3 days! The other one lasted and lasted and was still good when I threw it away.

    That writing exercise sounds like a smart one for me. It's very rare that I have an hour to write on any given day, but I think the only real way for me to move forward is to plot out specific hours like that, even if my goal for the hour is just PUT WORDS ON THE PAGE.

  8. You won a little something on one of my contests!

    The winners are listed in this post! Congrats!!

    And EWW! Rotten pumpkins! No fun!!

  9. Congrats on winning Kim's contest!!! LUCKY! I loved the book (I got to borrow an ARC).

    Rotten pumpkins. Not cool.

  10. Oh, gosh. I've never had an experience like that with a pumpkin, but a watermelon actually fermented and exploded in my mom's laundry room once. Apparently we took WAY too long to eat it.

    That sounds like a great writing exercise. Sometime when I'm stuck I'll have to try it out.