Writing version of "Couch to 5K" (or maybe just 1K)...in 4 days.
August 24, 2015 5:21 PM   Subscribe

I got a last-minute invite to a weekend creative writing workshop. I haven't produced anything except for work related, decidedly non-creative, work in a long time, and am not at all in a daily writing (or idea generating) habit at this point. Prescribe me a workout for the next 4 days so I am as "in shape" as is realistic.


--Participants are not expected to show up with drafts of previously written work;
--I've asked the instructor for similar advice and am waiting to hear back;
--I haven't been in a writing workshop for 10+ years;
--Assume I've got about 2-3 hours per day (but terrible work habits and attention span issues for "just write something" at this point).

How would you bootcamp this before Friday afternoon, so that I can get the most out of the time I have to write, and minimizing the amount of writer's block due to sheer rustiness?
posted by these are my travel socks to Writing & Language (6 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
I'd spend my time over the next four days responding to creative writing prompts. Just grab a couple you like and go.

I wouldn't worry about more focused writing -- practicing skills -- with so little time. I'd worry about getting into the habit, loosening up on feeling the need to "have something to write about," and pushing yourself to pile up the words and sentences.
posted by notyou at 5:39 PM on August 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

Prompts are a good idea. Also, I'd give 750 Words a shot. It's free for the first month. It tracks your writing and gives cute little badges for maintaining streaks and things. It's a wonderful tool. Despite the extra cruft, it's very focused on just writing. Bonus: perhaps it'll reinvigorate the urge to keep writing creatively beyond the workshop?
posted by Ephelump Jockey at 5:47 PM on August 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Same suggestion as Ephelump Jockey - these are commonly known as morning pages. I've done them in the past and is closer to meditation than strictly a writing exercise. But it will get your hand and mind moving no matter what.
posted by O9scar at 6:19 PM on August 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

Along the lines of morning pages: take some prompts and use written kitten or write or die to push yourself to write continuously. Start with 10-minute bursts and work your way up from there. Just get back into the habit of writing stuff without turning your editor on. Also take some short bursts of time where you have to keep listing story ideas or beginnings in a brainstorming, stream-of-consciousness way where you are not allowed to throw them out. Together, these two activities should help you get back in the habit of idea generating and just writing.
posted by earth by april at 6:22 PM on August 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'd do the speed/creative writing prompts, but if you are expecting to be writing fiction, then maybe things that will jog your subconscious into things that make good stories?

So like, your 10 favourite characters and commonalities between them.
Your 5 most annoying characters or habits.
The scariest thing ever. The most loveliest thing ever.
10 places/settings that move you so much that they don't need people, because they are places that already tell a story.
The dribs and drabs of story or character ideas - yes, more of those brain.
posted by Elysum at 7:07 AM on August 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone-- this is a creative non-fiction workshop focused on narrative/storytelling, and the instructor just confirmed that we are expected to generate all writing during the course of the workshop (i.e. show up emptyhanded and prepare to create from scratch on a daily basis).

I'll admit that my internal editor gets incredibly anxious about freewriting and how to transition from that to "producing a product that is readable and with value to an outside audience."
posted by these are my travel socks at 7:39 AM on August 26, 2015

« Older Is it worth it to hold onto my old stereo speakers...   |   Mefites, what does your healthy yet simple diet... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.