There are days when I can write effortlessly. I can picture my character(s) in my mind’s eye. Clearly.
I can see and feel the surroundings they find themselves in. I can gauge their mood and ratchet it up or tone it down. They begin talking and I type or write quickly, making countless spelling and grammatical errors to just get it down. I know I can fix that later but a host of ideas are swirling around in my head for them. Some funny, sad, thrilling, touching, disgusting — whatever. It’s as if a tap has been turned on.
Then the well dries up, the tap is turned off. There’s not even a drip anymore.
It’s maddening this thing we do — write and try to drum up stories. What makes one day different than another? Is it something I ate the night before? Do I need a glass of wine to bring out my elusive muse? Or was it the second glass I had while talking to a friend or family member last night that drove the little rascal back into his (lately, my muse has been male and mischievous) hiding place? Do I need to go to the gym and walk quickly on a treadmill or lift a few weights to inspire him?
Maybe he just doesn’t want to play today. But I can show him who’s boss here by teasing him with a word….or a phrase. It could be a word I found by fluttering the pages of my dictionary (yes, a real dictionary), opening it and pointing.
It could be a phrase from one of my favorite writers/artists/comedians or a snippet of conversation I heard; one that I found appalling, insulting or inspiring from the guy behind the counter at the deli I stopped in to buy a pound of turkey from or a person I eavesdropped on while riding home on the train last week.
I can force him to step out into the light where I can see and talk to him. Infuriating little imp that he is.
That wise advice being set forth, here’s the challenge:
The word is: Jejune.
The phrase is: “You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?”—Steven Wright, comedian.
Now, write a brief story/dialogue or a portion of that great novel you’ve got going with one or both buried somewhere within it. Don’t worry so much about the phrase — as long as it has the general “idea” of the above. Weave a character around them.
Leave it in the comments section or direct me to your blog. Share your own word or phrase.
I’ll deliver mine tomorrow. Happy writing.
Hey Brigitte, glad you started a blog. I think it helps writing and is a fun thing to do. I don’t know what motivates people to write sometimes and not others. The story I wrote last week, I was thinking about for months. But I kept not starting the thing. Now that I wrote it’s different then what I envisioned it to be . So I think one has to get a spark of an idea for motivation, but also make it a routine to certain degree. The time needs to be allotted to sit down and do it.
The writing exercise is a neat idea, but I wonder if a different word could be picked other than ‘jejune’ I would need to run to a dictionary for that one.
See you at our writing group in a few weeks.
Thanks for the comment and for sharing your experience/ideas. I picked the word because I stumbled across it and liked the fact that we have to stretch our writing skills to incorporate words we may not always use….try it and good luck with your next writing project!
Hi Brigitte — welcome to the blogger’s world! I can totally see this will become a regular spot for me to visit. Hope you enjoy this experience…
Thanks, Brinda…happy writing!
I love that your muse is a mischievous male! 🙂 I don’t even have a personified muse to date, just an urge to write down the sentences that drift in and out of my head. I admire the fact also that you have such strong characters who do the talking and walking for you. Cheers! Hina = Chika
Thanks for the kind comments and stopping by to read. That “urge” you have is certainly great, as your stories certainly display a way with words, strong themes that touch and inspire and make me want to read more! Again — thanks!
Oh. PS. Which dictionary do you use? Do you have a desktop dictionary and an unabridged one? Plus I realize now that you’re a gifted painter as well — LOVE the monochromatic Pollack-esque background that I assume is your work? And your self portrait! 🙂
P.S. and FYI, Chika: My gravatar is from a picture I drew when I was about 18 or so….I’ve kept it all these years. :). Funny how you stumble upon these keepsakes!
Chika–it is a big red Webster’s dictionary I’ve been carting around for years! And thank you for noticing the background–it is my painting. I’ve done a couple of “Pollack-esque” ones.