Stretch and Flex
Your Creative Muscles…
Stretch & Flex Your Creative Muscles…
By: Anastasia Vaughan
Boot camp ended roughly over 3 hours ago yet its profound impact has slowly yet surely trickled over into other aspects of my life. Each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening the university gym hosts a free no holding back session of “kick your own ass” exercising at 5 PM. Though I’ve never considered myself to be the athletic type I have quickly discovered that exercise can teach you more than how to find tune your outer body and inner core.
In life we are constantly taught growing up that if we aim to be great at a task or particular talent that practice is the only thing that eventually help make perfection. So why is that writers often don’t feel the need to constantly practice their craft without attempting to gain a master piece out of their writing? As an amateur writer I often found myself for years on end writing only when I absolutely felt the need to pressure myself to prove that my talent is still at the very end of each of my fingertips. After reading several self-help books on the market aimed towards creating an impact with words, the message of exercising your inner talents suddenly became crystal clear despite the fact that it took a few years well to set in. As I my arms swing high into the air as if I could possibly jump from the knees up to touch the ceiling it finally hit me. In order to create beautiful bodies of articulate well written work one must do their best to engage themselves in practicing their passions.
Since coming to the realization that even talent doesn’t always come easy I’ve taken up exercising my literary muscles without looking for gain as many times a week as I can. Though I often frequent switch my writing exercise routine between 1 and 6 different practice exercises the one’s in which I have mentioned are my favorites to frequently indulge in.
So in an effort to help my talent to grow stronger than what it is I have begun to explore some exercises that could help increase skill such as exploring random dialogue writing. Random dialogue writing consists starting out by writing one word descriptions in three different categories that are used to create a short story such as picking no more than 2 or 3 characters, a basic setting for conversations to take place, a topic for the characters to engage in. After I have completed those basic steps I simply let all of my nerves go and write. Aside from dialogue practice I’ve learnt to practice descriptive writing doing impromptu setting practice exercises as well. In these setting practices I attempt to create a 4 page story that is told also completely and totally by describing the outside surrounding of a main character. When I complete this particular exercise I often challenge myself to use no more than 3 lines of dialogue in the entire story.
Other exercises that I consider to be fun an easy writing practice include brainstorming as many adjectives, verbs, and nouns on a sheet of paper as I can. However, be careful when you catch yourself doing this exercise above the rest because despite the fact that description can be a core weakness for many amateur writers procrastination is still the most original demon that often threatens to hijack greatness before it takes off. When I do these exercises I do not do them for any type of career or educational gain other than mere practice. Practice makes perfect maybe one of the most truthful saying I heard growing up that most people can relate to however, when it comes to waging war against thought and word placement nothing will ever perfectly come out the way you initially strived to make it seem.
Here is a list of practice exercises to try:
- Setting Practice
- Dialogue Practice
- Word Listing/Word Brainstorming
- Short Story Character Builders (Start this exercise by creating 1 or more characters that are able to tell an entire story that is very short based on their personality and identity alone. For example there are a few questions your story should incorporate to give an accurate depiction of a plot based the characters identity. What do they look like? How do they dress? Why does the thing’s that happens to the character happen? Does your character deserve their life karma? Is the character’s karma good or bad? Are they optimistic? Do they use sexuality to draw people near to them? Are they naïve? What bad habits hinder them? Are they co-dependent or independent? Are they a leader or follower? Who do they want to be verses how they behave?)
- Google several different types of essay styles: Experiment with different types of essay writings. Type in “types of essays” into the google search bar than try your personal experiences after reading the different forms of writing than google how to write in that essay form.
- Plot a Plot from a Plot: Use 2 lines from a recent conversation or interaction that you’ve come in contact with and expand on the concept. If you don’t think you have any experiences or conversations that stand out choose a song that you really enjoy print out the lyrics and create an expanded plot based on how the words, melodies and mood of the lyrics make you feel when you become one with the song. Challenge yourself to write at least a 3 page story the simplest thing yet attempt to make it complex and see where it takes you.
If you believe that writing is for you and know in your heart of hearts that you just haven’t found your niche yet you are not alone. Anything that one can do that will boost their internal worth is worth battling the nagging “haterisms” (yeah, I say it some people just love to hate on all the things they themselves know they can not do) of million critics each and every time you aim to indulge.
Every time I think about my literary dreams I am reminded of my new pastime, boot camp. Some mornings when I first roll over to open my matted eyes and the artist in me feels like there is going to be a creative slump. I hear the masculine baritone diaphragm of my boot camp instructor’s voice rising from his soulful belly as the words come up to the tip of his tongue flickering out the center of his mouth as it seeping into the cracks of my eardrums saying “you’ve got t reach, reach.” Reach becomes elongated in an attempt to showcase the fact that hard work isn’t always waiting for at your fingertips. When he says reach I often find myself doing just that. Whenever writing becomes hard I now tell my self to reach a little bit further with just a hint of more intensity. What it all comes down to in the end is that you can read all the book, create all the dream in your head and hope for nothing but the best what it all comes don’t to for the individual is one simple question every aspiring anything in life should ask themselves just as any standard athlete would. Will you wake up and reach (elongated) from the same place?