Friday, May 29, 2009

Write & Play Shop -- Assignment # 1

Some of you may remember this series of workshops from last summer, and I know many of you were diligently writing and recapturing lost memories. Maybe you stopped after awhile. That's okay. Find those notebooks and read them over and pick up where you left off! I know you'll find some happy surprises in the pages you wrote and good material for books and stories. For many of you this workshop will be a new. Welcome!

The Write & Play Shop will be a series of assignments to help you find your own personal stories and which of those stories are important for you to develop into a memoir, a short story, novel, or poetry. For some of you it may be enough just to do the writing assignments in a journal form. You'll have choices of how much or how little you want to write--I'll give you a long, short, and a very short option to follow. What we'll be doing is tapping into our emotional memories and I'll give you specific instructions about that first thing Monday morning.

But first, our very first assignment--and I'm going to be doing this along with you--will be to keep what Julia Cameron in her book The Artist's Way calls an Artist's Date, which for our purposes means to get happy and cozy with your writing space. For this writing journey, buy or make a journal (decorate it if you want) and choose your favorite writing instrument. I like a marbled black & white composition book and a mechanical pencil for my brainstorming and draft outlines. But if you're really wedded to your computer for everything, well, that's fine too.

Look around for some special things for your writing space--a favorite quote, a favorite "thinking" tool, photos. I have a flat black rock, a mini koosh ball, author/artist quotes... Here's one of the quotes and a good one for our creative adventure: "I have tried to write the best I can; sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can." ~Ernest Hemingway

If you don't have a copy of Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, you'll want to purchase or borrow a copy and/or visit Anne Tyler Lord's blog. You can find her by clicking on my profile and checking out the blogs I follow. Just look for her name!  So along with jotting down memories, write morning pages as per Julia and find your own spiritual path to higher creativity. What we're doing is filling the well. Mine feels a little dry right now, so I'll be scribbling furiously in my notebook along with you. 

I'd love to hear from you, so feel free to ask questions, share experiences in a comment to the blog or in an e-mail: claragillowclark (@)  My hope is that you will each find your own special and unique writing voice by plumbing the depths of your emotional experience!

For many of you who have been following me for awhile, you know that I teach writing and do freelance editing. For a limited time (June and July) I'm offering a Summer fee reduction of 30%. That means for a picture book ms up to 10 pages my flat fee of $50 is now $35.  For longer works--middle grade and young adult only, please--my fee of $3 per page is now $2 per page. If you're interested, shoot me an e-mail. I'll send you my address and other particualrs.

I'll be back on Wednesday when we'll set out on our journey. Have fun setting up a writing space of your own and be ready to write!