Every week during 2012, I aim to discuss a technical element of writing, with reference to various 'How To Write' books, and from the perspective of a beginner (that's me). Accompanying each piece will be two writing exercises. I will endeavour to complete exercises, or at least, to think about their objectives in other pieces that I am working on.
I am not yet limiting myself to a particular genre, and although I enjoy non-fiction writing (like this blog), I will be concentrating specifically on both short and long forms of fiction writing.
Week 1 (1 Jan - 7 Jan) - Why Do I Write?
(How fortuitous that this question was on the Writer's Digest site this week.)
Even as a new writer, I think it is easy to get sidetracked by the illusion that being a 'published writer' is the ultimate goal, but surely there is more to it than that.
For me, I am drawn by the power of the written word, and the challenge of mixing and matching language and thoughts to arrive at images that evoke emotion. Sometimes, entertainment and the feeling of escape is enough; and sometimes, writing serves as a tool for self-discovery and expression.
With the latter idea in mind, I will refer to Anne Lamott's excellent book, Bird by Bird. Lamott relates a number of personal experiences that have inspired her to write and suggests that we all have this inspiration at our fingertips.
The two exercises for this week aim to: a) set some goals so that I might remained focused; and b) get in touch with my writer's soul by writing to express.
Exercise One. List ten writing goals for 2012. Break down as many as possible into details or steps and tentative timelines. (I will be checking in on these at the end of each month.)
Exercise Two. Write a piece about a distinct childhood memory. Be Honest - no one need read this!
Week 2 will talk about dealing with the 'inner critic' and other voices that stop us from writing.