Juniper Writing Tips & Tricks
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Writing unfolds, explodes, falls, blooms, whispers, and shouts when you least expect it, so give yourself permission to write whenever you have an idea. Here are ten ways to jump-start, capture, and coax writing out of your head and onto the page by our Director Jennifer Jacobson.
Top 10 Writing Tips:
1. Think about what makes the physical act of writing easy for you: What's your favorite way to write? On a keyboard? With a pencil and paper? On your phone? Do you have the perfect pen? Whatever your tools are, find them, and keep them close.
2. Collect your writing supplies: and set a timer for five minutes. Keep your pen/pencil/fingers moving. Write whatever comes into your head. Don't censor anything and don't worry about punctuation, spelling, or grammar -- that can all get prettied up later. For now, just keep the flow going, and if you get stuck you can write,"I have more to say. I have more to say. I have more to say." You will find that you do.
3. Prompts: can help a writer muscle through the trapdoor of the psyche, unleash the unconscious, or help you feel less self-conscious. Pick a prompt and write for five minutes. See what happens.
- When the storm passed we found the...
- At the end of the road they...
- She picked up the blue bottle and...
- Some say he never....
- The lights in the sky looked like...
4. Respond to an image: visit a museum, open a magazine, find some graffiti, scroll through your social media feed, and choose a painting/photograph/collage/image that grabs you. Don't overthink this: first thought = best thought. Describe the image or the action in the piece. What happened just before? What will happen next? How does it make you feel? If there's an object in the picture use it in your story or poem. Will it cause conflict? Inspire a journey? Answer a question? Go.
5. Exquisite Corpse: is an exercise made for writing with others. Decide on the sentence structure before you start. For example, you might decide the sequence should be adjective, noun, verb, adjective, and noun. Write the first word, an adjective, on a sheet of paper, fold the paper so the word is hidden, and let the next person add another word. Go around as many times are you want keeping the words hidden, but following the sequence. The random selection of words often creates powerful and surprising images and very funny poems.
6. Take something you've written: and instead of having the poem, scene, or story end in the way you had been imagining, do the opposite. For example, Tiger is heading to a party where she won't know anyone and she's nervous about having someone to talk to. Now try changing directions. Tiger's heading to a party and she'll know everyone. How will she get a few minutes along to talk with her best friend?
7. A found poem: uses words, images, and phrases from other sources and brings them together in different ways. You might find language in an instruction manual, weather chart, horoscope, tweet, recipe, advertisement, history book, newspaper, novel, poem or comic. Pull out words that attract your attention. Put them together. See what develops.
8. Choose something that you've written: and underline the places where the language you've used is abstract or generalized. For example, in the sentence, "The sky was beautiful," you might underline "beautiful." Then write, "what I mean by beautiful is the way my mother smiles so I can see her uneven teeth." Keep going.
9. It's amazing the number of stories and poems you can create when you: start making a list. Here are some ideas: What I love about summer. Things that roll. Parts of an insect. What September smells like. Streets in my neighborhood. Colors in my room. Ingredients in my favorite pie. Try it.
10. Congratulations! You've made it all the way to number 10, so I'll tell you the very best tip for writing: If you want to be a writer, you have to write. Every day. Start with five minutes. Want more? Set the timer for another five minutes. Use these strategies. Keep a list of what's working. Do it again and again. Remember, you have more to say!
Get Creative: Juniper Writing Prompts
Looking for that spark of inspiration for your next piece? Our Director Jennifer Jacobson has got you covered. Check out this writing prompt to get you started:
- She turned and the tree behind her was...