Sunday, July 16, 2006

Radio Silence

I did it.

I actually signed up for a writing workshop and, yesterday, I went to my first class. It's "A Vacation From Procrastination" being offered through Richard Hugo House. For two hours, I sat in the classroom and thought, "Ha. I don't need this workshop! This is so elementary! After all, I only have two chapters left on my first draft!"

... and then I went home and avoided my writing, and it occurred to me that I've had "two chapters" left for at least three weeks now. (I know, I know: you have much to learn, young Grasshopper.)

So obviously I do need this workshop, and I'm grateful to be able to take it. For those of you who may lack free Saturdays and/or proximity to Seattle, these are the exercises that will keep me occupied until the next class:
  1. Word of the Week: CLOUD (write 500 words somehow associated with it).
  2. Get up earlier or stay up later, and see how that affects my writing.
  3. Do an interview using a childhood photo of myself as the subject.
  4. Walk around my neighborhood and write about what I observe.
  5. Eavesdrop for dialogue.
  6. Collect sounds and smells (very visceral).
  7. Before I go to bed, write a phrase or sentence on a Post-It note and put it on the coffeemaker. When I first wake up, take that phrase as a starting point and write for 15 minutes.
  8. Turn "no" into "yes"... give in to something I normally refuse and see what happens.
  9. Sit at my desk every day for at least 15 minutes, even if I don't do anything.
  10. Observe a media boycott--turn off the TV, put down the newspaper, and go without stories so I feel forced to create my own.

That last one will be the most difficult for me. With the current situation in the Middle East--not to mention midterm elections on the horizon--I can't in good conscience stop reading the news. I have, however, resolved not to watch television, read novels, or surf blogs for more than 15 minutes a day. The horror! The horror!

So if anyone wants to cheer on my efforts, feel free. And if anyone wants to join me doing these writing assignments, let the DSW know so that we can cheer you, too!


6 comments:

ames said...

Since I'm not a writer, I'm going to cheer you on. LOL

But blogging for only 15 minutes a day????

theflitgirl said...

I can tell you right now that numbers 9 and 10 are what matters. But the most importatn one of all is to be forgiving of yourself. Tell yourself: "It's okay if I only write one sentence today and it's crap. I just have to sit down and write that one sentence." And then when you sit down, you'll write more than that, of course.

I want to read the end of the novel. I'm on tenterhooks here.

tagideon said...

Kate,

I can't imagine you only reading for 15 minutes-it's so unlike you. This reminds me of when your mean mother used to hold your favorite series of books hostage until your room was clean!

Good luck with the writing.

Holly said...

LOL @ Your mom holding your books hostage. I thought I was the only one.

Some of those were very intersting! Thing I never would have thought of. I'll be cheering you on! Make sure you use part of your 15 mintues to keep us updated on your progress.

Kate D. said...

Update for y'all: I didn't feel deprived of media on Saturday or Sunday because I was running a bachelorette party and visiting The Boyfriend's family.

But Monday and Tuesday... woah, doggie. Never before have I noticed myself seriously craving TV. I normally don't watch it at all during the summer. But I do watch movies. And I love TV shows on DVD... was seriously feenin' for some Firefly.

The upshot is that, with no one else's stories to distract me, I was incredibly productive. I finished a freelance writing assignment on Monday (woohoo! 9 hours of writing curriculum for Ethan Frome!) Then yesterday I figured out what was ticking me off about my novel and FINALLY finished chapter sixteen.

I was so exhausted after all my productivity that I succumbed to the temptation of a Candice Hern novel last night. But it wasn't enjoyable. I felt guilty and gross, the way you feel after ripping into a bag of Doritoes after weeks of organic food.

The novel was fine. I'm just ashamed of myself for "cheating" on the media boycott!

No more novels for Kate D. Now, back to productivity...

theflitgirl said...

Thank f-ing GOD Kate. I can't WAIT to read chapter 16.

I, trapped in a blackout zone for 3 days, did no writing. Tomorrow, I hope. I'm feeling discouraged right now and will post about it soon.