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Archive for the tag “The Artist’s Way”

THE 3 THINGS I RE- LEARNED AT A COLLABORATIVE WRITING WORKSHOP

The advertisement flyer said “We will use stolen quotes and stupid games to create our writing. This is not about being precious; it’s not even about being good – it’s about finding ways to begin writing, to stop being scared of it and look at it as a collaborative practice.”

I HAD to participate in this workshop so I registered immediately.

The next step was to pay the fees to confirm my participation. And then disaster struck. Saskia from Thespo called to say that the workshop had been filled. There were only 10 seats because Rachael Clerke who was conducting the workshop (at Prithvi House) wanted to keep the group intimate to facilitate easier writing and sharing. Alas, my procrastination in paying the fees (I vacillated between online payment and paying by cash, which would mean travelling to the Thespo office) had cost me a seat at this workshop.

I was devastated and requested and re-requested to be allowed to attend. Many emails were exchanged which mainly consisted of me asking to be added to the group and Saskia trying to interest me in another workshop. But I had now become like that adamant child who refuses any other brand of chocolate except the one he’s set his mind on.
Finally, Rachael read the email communication and decided my keenness was genuine and I merited a seat and yayyy, I was at the workshop (on 16th December, 2014).

Therefore, LESSON NO.1 – Persistence pays.

At the workshop

At the workshop

It was an eclectic group of theatre/performance artists, literature students and even an advocate. The ambience was cozy, the warm wooden floors offset quite well by the black walls and the bright white circles shining down from the spotlights on the ceiling. We began with my most fave activity. Writing the Morning Pages. And so, even though I’d already done them once in the morning, I joined in with enthusiasm. And it was at the end of the writing that I had a couple of epiphanies: 1) I did prefer a particular ambience to do my writing in and 2) I re-discovered my love for teaching.

And so, LESSON NO.2 – Varying one’s place of writing once in a while can yield delightful results.

Rachael, Saskia and my fellow workshoppers

Rachael, Saskia and my fellow workshoppers

We played word games. Then we selected interesting words such as blues, stirrup, puck, sea-biscuit (my most fave) and used them to write story excerpts. We formed groups of four each. On one sheet of paper (per group), each one of us wrote a piece but the twist was that the previous writing was hidden so one just wrote whatever one wanted to, continuing from the bridge words: and then…; meanwhile..; but…. While writing a couple of pieces, I realized that my writing was following a particularly staid path. So, keeping the original intent of not being precious or even good with the words I jumped in with a playful attitude and really had a lot of fun. And when the pieces were read together as a whole, they made for quite interesting reading.

The next assignment was even more interesting. A new piece of writing had to be developed from a given excerpt. Some had to make a list from that while others had to make a poem and or even a letter. Finally, one had to edit another’s piece to make it different from the original while still retaining its essence. The environment was supportive enough for all of us to read out what we had written. At the end of the workshop we had written about a 100 pieces in all.

Finally, LESSON No.3 – Writing in collaboration with other writers can give a much higher and more interesting output.

Merchandise at the Thespo Tamasha

Merchandise at the Thespo Tamasha

 

Thespo at Prithvi

Thespo at Prithvi

So, what are the writing lessons you’ve re-learned lately?

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JOURNALING

The Artist's Way

The Artist’s Way

‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron is an iconic book which helps artists to unblock and find their creative groove once again.

The Morning Pages, which Cameron advocates in this book, for all, blocked or otherwise, is a form of Journaling as well as a form of meditation. For those not aware of it, morning pages are three pages of unedited writing you do as soon as you wake up. These pages are read by no-one, not even by the writer.

Morning pages can be a helpful tool to prepare for NaNoWriMo. If one has been dwelling on the story in the mind, then there is a good chance that insights might crop up during the writing of the morning pages. My morning pages are a jumble of words and if such an insight occurs I make it a point to circle or underline it so that I can retrieve it later.

Journaling in its simplest form can be taken to mean free writing. Many misunderstand free writing to be aimless writing. It actually entails writing non-stop on a particular topic for a fixed time or number of pages. This gives the conscious mind a chance to move out of the creative mind’s way as the ideas begin to stream in. This works wonderfully for character sketches and world-building for novels.

What has been your experience with journaling for NaNoWriMo?

Writing Tip #10

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” (Sylvia Plath)

 

This post is part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge 2014

Pic courtesy: http://bestisyettocome.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/taking-the-artists-way-out/

ARE YOU WORD-WEARY?

WORD-WEARY

WORD-WEARY

There are writers that can churn out 500-1000 good words or more as soon as they sit down to write. (Really?) Then, there are the others who need to think and compost their ideas and words for hours (days? years?) before they are ready to cut the umbilical cord and release them into the world.

If one belongs to the latter category, then birthing new words everyday continuously for 30 days can be an excruciating challenge. Dipping into the well (which is how Julia Cameron refers to the creative self in ‘The Artist’s Way’) unceasingly, can lead to its depletion, making us ‘word-weary’. The added onslaught of media distraction in our lives makes us lose our train of thought and adds to the word-weariness.

Word-weariness robs us of our enthusiasm for writing and the words we churn out half-heartedly sound as if the burden of the world rests on their shoulders. We wish we too could crawl into a cave like a hibernating bear and refresh our writing souls.

The Artist’s Way offers a tool called ‘Media Deprivation,’ which was known as ‘Reading Deprivation’ earlier. As the name suggests, one is required to deprive oneself, for one week, of reading and of all kinds of media that is a constant source of distraction. No reading, no email, no texts, no internet, no surfing, no social media. Also, no television and no radio. A word-detox, of sorts.

If it is not possible to completely switch off, try to be de-plugged for a major chunk of time. This step, The Artist’s Way promises, will allow you to open yourself to ideas and inspirations.

Do you wonder how you will fill in the days if you are off-media and off-devices?

Some take up dancing classes and others pottery. Some explore gardens, parks, museums, and art galleries. And, some write.

What will you do if  you are word-weary?

 

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