Daily Writing Exercise
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Exercise- Break your Trends
Admittedly, this exercise is only good for people who have already written some pieces. It is a practice intended for you to discover your favorite themes, and then, uproot them. Authors from Hemingway to Coleridge to Dan Brown all have a ‘list’ of favorite things to write about. This ‘list’ –thematic elements– are generally what guides an author’s writings. This is undoubtedly a good thing. It gives aim, purpose and strength to their production and maintains their interest. These themes can manifest consciously or subconsciously.
However, many time these themes become overbearing. An entire collection of work that all focuses on the same thesis will become stagnate. It is important for any writer to consider and analyze different subject matter that is different (and simultaneously, interesting) to them. By renewing and cycling thematic interests, a writer can maintain poignancy and immediacy.
For instance, the majority of my earliest poems deal with God. I didn’t realize this until I was reading a small literary magazine where I was published. Either overtly or covertly, all my poems questioned the significance and nature of my relationship with our deity. You can still see that in my poem “The Veteran.” Now, a lot of my poems have to do something with Nature. I must break these trends, because poems with identical subject matter are BORING. It’s as simple as that.
Now for you:
1. Collect 6 of the most recent poems or pieces that you’ve written.
2. Quickly analyze the pieces, picking out 3 central thematic elements for each.
3. Compare, contrast and tally the thematic elements of your works.
4. Pick the top two themes that appeared most often.
5. Write a new poem or piece that relates to your top two themes, but indirectly. E.G if you commonly write about ‘Love’, write a poem about war. A soldier finds his ‘Love’ for war, ect.
6. Write a new poem or piece that has neither of those themes. Entirely unrelated in every possible way.
7. Send your stories to me.
That’s it for now. I’ll post the results to my other exercise soon.
God Save the Books,