A Training Guide For Writing Wild

A student told me the other day that the thought of going outdoors to write terrified her.

In response to our conversation, I jotted down a few ideas which I hope will support you to just get out there. Take them with a pinch of salt  :-) 

-If the computer or television is more familiar to you than the world outside your front door, acclimatise slowly.

Start by venturing out into your garden (assuming you have one), then take on your local park. After that you should feel confident to go further…

-Get familiar with darkness.

Try lying in a dark room for twenty minutes, without falling asleep. You could also put on a blindfold, and feel your way around a room, or garden. Notice how the senses other than sight will come to your aid. See that your fears are bigger then the reality.

-Practice with texture under your feet and hands.

Exchange carpets and varnished floorboards for barefoot scurrying across your pebbled drive.  Swap flat white walls for touching brick and stone. Touch plants (carefully) that you usually consider too spiky.

-Consider going ‘off-line’.

Leaving the phone and Wi Fi behind is the new trend, have you heard? To really go into the unknown means to rely on your own resources, rather than those of your mother/partner/friend/therapist at the other end of the line. Face the reality that where you’re going there may not be a phone signal anyway. To prepare for this, turn your phone off for ten minutes, and see how it feels. Then progress to twenty minutes. Go up incrementally from there. When you can do three hours -the length of the writing of the first draft of your epic poem- you’re ready.

-Decide where to go.

You want to go into unknown territory. It will give you the sharpness of attention that’s conducive to vivid writing. But you don’t want to go anywhere that will frighten you too much, or where you place yourself in danger. A scared writer just freezes up, that is not creative.

-Make your destination information available on a need-to-know basis only. 

Threaten teenagers with loss of privileges if they contact or come looking for you in anything other than a REAL emergency (borrowing money/the car, trips to the supermarket for Nuttela etc… are not classed as real emergencies).

Finally. Remember. You deserve some time for you. Take it. Without apologies or excuses.


The Weekly Prompt

Put the six encouragements above into action :-)