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Month: April 2016

Books on Writing Reading program

Books on Writing Reading program

Books on Writing Reading Program

Do you read books on writing?  Do you do the exercises and finish the book?  If you’re anything like me, the answer is no.  I always tend to hit a wall about halfway through, or rush through the exercises or even skip the ones I don’t think I need (but probably do).

I recently decided to read The Artist’s Way, to dedicate myself to doing a chapter a week. And as I was reading the first few chapters, I found a lot I wanted to share, a lot I wanted to discuss.  And I decided I wanted to read some of the other books on writing I have, really work through them.  And maybe if I did it publicly, with a support group of sorts, maybe I could get through them and writing would become natural again.

So I’m starting the Books on Writing Reading Program. I’m going to blog about it here, and I hope you’ll join me. I have a backlog of books to get through, including, in no particular order, Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande, Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg, and On Writing by Stephen King.  Plus at least seven or eight other books I have sitting on a shelf.  I will also be restarting and finishing an online writing course I started last year, the one that inspired me to start The Writing Promptcast.  Participate for one book or five or all. If you have a book you’d like to read, let me know and I’ll put it on the schedule!

But first, The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. This will be a 14 week review and discussion, beginning in May.  I will be posting for each week on Fridays, so on Friday, May 6th, we will discuss the Introduction, The Basic Principles, and The Basic Tools.  We will be discussing the chapter titled Week 1 on May 13th.  If you would like to join me in this reading program, please read along with me and stop by here on Fridays to discuss the week’s lesson.

I’m terrible at follow-through. So this is my hope: that others will join me here for this. Let’s do this together, sort of an online book club. Write about it on your blog and link back here, or comment on the posts, or email me and let me know what you’re thinking each week. And when you or I hit that wall that always seems to hit me halfway through, let’s help each other over and keep going.

I’m not necessarily looking to become a better writer, although of course I hope I do. I simply want to write again, like I used to. I want to love it, I want the stories to pour out of me, I want to give the voices in my head a platform and let them know I’m here for them, so that they can be there for me when I’m finally ready to finish writing a book.

Because that is and will always be my ultimate dream: my book on a bookshelf, even if it’s just my own.

What’s your creative writing dream? What area do you want to improve in? Let’s help each other out, support each other, and succeed.

And write.

Are you in?  Let me know in the comments below, and be sure to let me know if there’s a particular book I should add to the schedule!

Episode 8 – 15 minute writing practice

Episode 8 – 15 minute writing practice

Something a little different for today’s podcast – more words, less time! We still have a 15 minute writing practice, there will just be less time between the words. This should keep you on your toes and really get your brain thinking!

Remember, try to use each word or whatever the word inspires in your writing. Write as you listen. Let each word surprise you. Go with your gut, write without thinking.

If you’re not sure what the Writing Promptcast is all about, please check out this post.

I’d love to hear what you wrote with today’s prompts! Please leave a comment or link to your writing, or come visit me on Facebook or on Twitter @promptcast.

The Writing Promptcast – an introduction

The Writing Promptcast – an introduction

The Writing Promptcast is designed to be a timed guided freewriting exercise.  It’s different from other podcasts, in that there’s going to be a lot of dead air.  It’s different from other writing prompts, in that you don’t know what’s coming next.

Here’s how it works:

I’ll start the podcast with a quick intro, followed by “the business items” – website, Facebook, Twitter, any matters I need to share with you. The introduction and business items should take less than two minutes.  Then we’ll get to the writing practice.  I will start you off with a prompt – it may be a word, a phrase, or a concept.  Then, a few minutes later, I will prompt you with another word.  And then a few minutes later, another.  Between these prompts, you will hear nothing – dead air.

Here’s an example:

The first prompt is “Petunia.”  So you write, incorporating that word into your writing, or being inspired by it:

Petunia Potts pounced on the last doughnut before I could get to it.  She stared me down as she took a bite, then turned her head to spit into the trash can.  “Yuck, jelly!”  The doughnut went into the trash.

My stomach growled, and Petunia smirked.  “You really should be on time more often.”  Her ponytail bounced side to side as she flounced out of the breakroom.

I eyed the jelly doughnut in the trash can before

Then you’ll hear a second word:  “Forceps” – remember, KEEP WRITING!

turning to the vending machine and surveying my options.  The Snickers bar called to me, but I would need forceps to pry the nougat out of my teeth.  Besides, I had already had one candy bar today.  Well, two, if you counted each bar of Twix.  

I inserted a five dollar bill and selected L7 – peanut butter crackers.  I could count that as my protein for the morning.  

Bob tapped on the glass as he walked by, then poked his head in.  “We’re meeting in the large conference room.”

“For?”

You’re third word is “Negativity.”

He blinked at me.  “The new Kaufman account, remember?  You’re supposed to lead the discussion about what avenues we’ll open up for them?  Make them feel like they made the right choice?”

The coffee cup I was filling clunked into the sink as I dropped it and turned.  “Crap!”  I had forgotten about the meeting.  About the account.  About doing my job, evidently.  The divorce was already having a negative impact on my performance at work.

Great.

“I’ll be right there,” I told Bob as I rushed past him to my desk.  I grabbed the client folder and scanned the cubicle, looking for inspiration.  Maybe if I

New word:  “Water.”

And so on.

The point of this writing practice is not to think too much about it, just let the story come to you.  It may start out one way, then go in a different direction when you hear a new word.  That’s okay.  Go with it.  Let your story surprise you.

At the end of the podcast, I’ll simply announce that it’s over.  I will try to be as unobtrusive as possible, because I want you to continue writing for as long as you can after the podcast is over, and I don’t want to disrupt your writing more than I need to.

In her book Wild Mind, Natalie Goldberg lists the “rules” of the writing practice.  One of them is particularly important for this podcast:

Don’t think.

To quote Goldberg, “We usually live in the realm of second or third thoughts, thoughts on thoughts, rather than in the realm of first thoughts, the real way we flash on something. Stay with the first flash.”

That’s what this podcast is.  As I prompt you, stay with that first flash. Trust your mind, and the words that come from it. That’s where the magic is.

Episode 7 – 15 Minute Writing Practice

Episode 7 – 15 Minute Writing Practice

15 minute writing practice using word prompts. Today’s podcast features background music instead of silence, please let me know what you think!

Music: The Perfect Escape – Available on ambient-mixer.com, Created by Mr. Tortellini, Featuring the following audio files:
Beach Waves by 3bagbrew of http://freesound.org +)
Small Waves Hitting Boat by Benboncan of the Freesound Project +)
Underwater 1 by By Digifish Music – www.freesound.org +)
Bubbles by felix.blume from http://freesound.org +)
Surf guitar by Juliet Starlet +)
Waves by Owl from http://freesound.org +)
Rocky Seashore by soundmanfilms from http://www.freesound.org +)
Ambient waves (Tortelliniinc.) by Tortelliniinc +)

+) Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 License

Episode 6 – 15 minute writing practice

Episode 6 – 15 minute writing practice

Trying something a little different today: background music. Let me know if it helps or hinders your writing practice! Comment below, or come visit me on Facebook or twitter, @promptcast.

Show Notes:
Dorothea Brande, Becoming a Writer, p.152

Music: Brain Flow, available on ambient-mixer.com, Created by Chouli Patches, featuring the following audio files:
Drone Arp by George Vlad of Alchemy Audio Design +)
Bass & Cello Drone by Jack Braglia [www.BlastAudioSolutions.com] +)
Cosmic Rays by Jack Braglia [www.BlastAudioSolutions.com] +)
Droplet Drone by Jack Braglia [www.BlastAudioSolutions.com] +)
Enlightened Synth Pad by Jack Braglia [www.BlastAudioSolutions.com] +)
Morphing Synth Pad by Jack Braglia [www.BlastAudioSolutions.com] +)
Unraveling Pad by Jack Braglia [www.BlastAudioSolutions.com] +)
Quiet mandolin by Venus Vulture +)

+) Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 License

Episode 5 – 15 minute writing practice

Episode 5 – 15 minute writing practice

Included in this week’s podcast: an apology and a 15 minute writing practice. The Writing Promptcast should be listened to when you are looking for a timed writing prompt. No need to set a timer, no need to search for a prompt, and no need to even think about what you’re going to write. Just write, whatever comes to you, when you are prompted with a new word. Let your subconscious reign.

I’d love to hear what you wrote with today’s prompts! Please leave a comment or link, or come visit me on Facebook or on Twitter @promptcast.