A frigid wind has been blowing for the last two days, plummeting down the hills and dipping into the valleys like a kid on a snowboard who hasn’t yet noticed it’s summer, not winter. I’ve had to close the windows in my cabin and take long walks and hot soaks to keep my joints from stiffening.
Of course, that makes me think of writing . . . of how we let ourselves stiffen into inertia at times. A sliding snowboard gathers no ice (to continue the metaphor) but one hung up for the summer gets covered with dust and cobwebs. That’s why daily writing practice is so important. It’s easy to let one day pass without letting the words out to play, but then the second day comes and the third and fourth . . . and pretty soon our words are all grouchy and out of sorts. They’re stiff from disuse and in need of a waxing so they’ll slide off our fingers again.
If you don’t have a book of writing prompts, get one. I like anything by Natalie Goldberg, Walking on Alligators by Susan Shaunessy, and Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge’s Poem Crazy. And of course Julia Cameron’s works are full of great writing prompts and exercises.
A prompt a day keeps the writing juices flowing (and you don’t have to stare at a blank page before beginning). Just write a prompt at the top of your page (or screen), give yourself five to ten minutes, and write. Don’t edit, don’t stop, don’t worry . . . just write.
As for me, this is today’s writing practice. Now I’m going inside . . . it’s cold and there’s hot water in the tank, a cup of tea waiting to be made, and a book to be read. Happy writing!