“Sunday’s Scribble” is a feature here at Playing Jokers where Michelle tries to motivate herself to not just read, but to write creatively. If you are interested in playing along, please contact Michelle! “Sunday’s Scribble” in its infancy and open to feedback to help evolve it.
Prompts, Inspiration & the First Hurdle
Yayy! The first “Sunday’s Scribble”!
I tried, guys. I really tried. Or…I kind of tried to write.
I chose one night to forgo reading and instead pull out the hot pink-some-kind-of-plastic-leather-bound notebook and a pen that was somewhat satisfactory and tried to write. I only managed one type of diary-like entry with a to-do list.
Definitely not creative writing.
I didn’t beat myself up too much. I remember from my intensive creative writing days in high school that any writing is writing and it is the act of it that will help. We used to have two journals for every creative writing class. One was an ‘Assigned Journal’ or AJ. In those we would write to prompts and work on the specific form that was the class’s focus. Then we had our ‘Personal Journal’ or PJ, where we were supposed to further develop promising pieces from the AJ and help form the pieces that would be part of our end of semester/year portfolios. We were told that even if you are struggling with a piece, to just write ‘I CAN’T WRITE I CAN’T WRITE’ over and over again to get it out of your system. It was supposed to help free you from those moments of self-doubt and get you to start working on what you actually wanted to/should be working on.
I thrive on group writing. Hearing others read their works in progress and reading my own, really inspires me. And I lack having those prompts that would really get me thinking in a new direction. The structure of a creative writing class, at least the ones I had in high school (which honestly were a lot better than the ones I had in college) really help me. The last time I really produced anything creative was when I got to sit in on some of the workshops for the kids’ creative writing summer camp I used to work at during my college years. I got to move between different genre focus sessions and hear grade school kids (5th grade to 12th grade) read their pieces, inspiring me to have my own piece to read at the end of the camp. I ended up with some cool stories and poems. One story ended up in the undergrad literary art magazine. It was about a girl watching her next door neighbor over a long time but never joining him in his games, when the kid ends up dying from a freak accident. Sounds a lot more morbid than it was but it was typical Michelle-writing. I think the last fiction piece I ever tried was my attempt at making a modern re-telling of Jack and the Beanstalk in a poor neighborhood, where the magic seeds are instead some kind of books or CDs.
I know I’m ranting now. My point is, I tried to get myself writing this week and in the attempt, I’ve realized what I need in order to be a bit more successful this coming week. My goal for this week is to hunt down prompts, ideas, and start filling my notebook with them.
In fact, here’s my self-assigned homework: I want to go through the tons of Newsweek magazines I have (because an old resident of the house I rent forgot to change her subscription). I want to go through them and begin to cut out cool phrases and pictures to create a scrapbook of ideas that could serve as prompts. That way, even though I’m no longer in a classroom, I can still make sure that I have something to inspire me other than the daunting shadows of all the books I have read, am reading, or have piled on bookshelf.
Your turn! Do you write? What are you currently working on? Or what would you like to try writing? How do you get back into writing after a long break? What inspires you?