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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ways to Shake up Your Writing

I read somewhere that The Grateful Dead decided to shake things up when making their first studio album in years, In the Dark. One idea: turn off all studio lights while recording. According to bassist Phil Lesh, results weren’t so good. Still, there’s a useful bottom line here. Find a way to surprise yourself when your writing struggles.in the dark

Sometimes, you just have to kick out the jams. I have tried all the following tricks, as part of a study in process. They seem to change my approach, which in turn changes my writing. Mileage may vary.

  1. Use pen or pencil if you usually use a computer; use a computer if you usually use pen or pencil. OR try a typewriter! I am pretty certain that you access different parts of the brain by this change.
  2. Change  location. If you normally use a desktop,  switch to a laptop and go somewhere. Or borrow someone’s system, or use the library computer. You surroundings make a difference.
  3. Write with your off hand. Yes, this is awkward  but it slows  you way down. This immerses you in each word. Again, I believe you access different parts of the brain (where different ideas may lurk).
  4. Even a different word processor can give you a fresh outlook. Different tools bring different results.

I play Free cell  a lot. Look at the game: sorting card decks by suit and by alternating colors. I feel that playing the game places my mind in a logical, patient framework that seems conducive to a writing mindset. It may only be a trick but try it. Better yet, try accepting the struggle as part of the process.

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