Sunday, December 02, 2007

Writing Exercises: Should I/Shouldn't I?

Today, I spotted on a fellow blogger's blog - how's that for prose style? - some writing exercises, one exercise per blog entry, which he was first explaining and then attempting. Not an original idea - I've seen it elsewhere - but when the posts are kept short, it can make interesting bloggery.

I'm now considering whether I could/should adapt the idea for Raw Light, i.e. think up some workshop-style poetry writing ideas, then follow them myself, one by one, posting up the results. Not too many, perhaps. But enough to make a sequence of posts which could be linked for those following the exercises. I imagine such a thing would be anathema to some, but fun reading for others. Perhaps it will depend on how well I execute the exercises, i.e. whether the resulting poems are any damn good.

Thoughts, groans, responses?


Julie said...

Went to a poet writing workshop some years ago (on a writing course) with children's poet called Coral Rumble.

Very basic - she had us all making 'Word Clay' - free association of images with any topic, then building them into verse. Could work with Buzan imindmaps....

I'd be interested to check in on this. Not published, but have a couple of poems on my VJ blog. London BC is one (archive).

Any help?

Angela France said...

I'd be interested.
Would you be interested in readers posting their own attempts? (always depending on the demands of work, college, etc)

Anonymous said...

It would seem your poetry is "damn good" and thus the idea might appeal to your readers. It appeals to me. Thanks for popping over.

Karen Barron said...

I try to follow the writing exercises in the mag I subscribe to, but in a vacuum. The results are sometimes good but who's to say if they're ever 'damn good' given that they are designed to be used in isolation, feed-back and comparison free. Not always useful.
However, the less experienced among us may tend to compare our results with the 'damn good' words of yours!??!! This could also be useful though as we must get used to (and keyed into) what makes writing 'damn good' or otherwise. What a pity it's so subjective.

Sorlil said...

Sounds like a great idea, please do!

Jane Holland said...

Karen, good to see you here after our recent email exchange.

I can understand the frustration caused by qualifiers like 'damn good', often being in the situation myself where I'm not sure whether a poem is worth publishing or not.

That fear doesn't stop once you start getting whole collections of poetry published, believe me. Indeed, if anything, it intensifies!

But while it's lovely to air-kiss poems - especially those written under workshop conditions - and claim that everyone's effort, however slight or impossible to follow, must needs be A Marvellous Poem, simply because we all love each other, dahling, it's also important not to lose sight of the need for quality.

And to attempt quality in our work requires some sort of yardstick so we can say 'yea' or 'nay' to each poem we write. Or 'mebbe', which is more often the case with me!

So sad though it is, and one of the most frustrating things about being a writer, getting to 'damn good' is also a requirement. And a requirement which must rank higher than 'well, she tried very hard'. Because the editor looking at your submission neither knows nor cares how hard you tried. All they have to judge you by is the poem they're about to stick back into the manilla envelope.

I'm dreaming up/stealing some simple workshop-style exercises right now, and will start the series off sometime later this week or at the weekend.

Anyone who wants to do the exercises with me is welcome to send me the results and - assuming I don't get fifty or something crazy! - I'll post them up on Raw Light. Then you can throw rotten tomatoes at mine and praise your own anonymously.

I know all the tricks ...

Julie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jane Holland said...

Great photos, Julie, much clearer than mine.

Okay, I've got the first writing exercise ready. I'll post it up this weekend.

Hopefully one or more of you writing fish out there will bite and make the game worthwhile!


Scot Phenic said...

You should give it a try. I'm new to your blog, but will be coming back. I have been doing this for just a few weeks and already find it tremendously helpful. Some of my daily stories are tripe but it helps me keep in a writing mindset. Feel free to stop by and criticize :)