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May 22, 2015

Monday, March 1, 2010

Musically Enhanced Free-write

This is a very simple and basic creative writing exercise.
     Basically, you crank up some music loud and just type - letting the words flow out of you, do not pause, do not give much thought to what you are writing,type rapidly and steadily.
     It's a free-write, excellent for a warm-up before your days writing begins. Write about whatever flows out of your mind, whatever subject matter, format, viewpoint, fiction, non-fiction, etc feels most natural at the time. Poetry or prose, both are good for this. Typically, 10 minutes is good enough, however if you find yourself on a real roll keep writing until you need to break for food, facilities or just plain getting out of the chair, but be aware the momentum is very difficult to resume after a break during the same free-write.
     This is best done on a computer - typing fast as you can, plus this makes it easier to go back and make something out of it. Typically, Notepad with Word Wrap turned on, or any equivalent simple text program, is ideal for this, small file size and no distractions from playing with the formatting or spell checker. You can use pen and paper for this if you really want to but that goes slower and it's a bit more difficult to build up any real momentum, also you can't do the inline editing later which is especially useful when turning it into a polished poem or story bit.
     Some people may need to use only instrumental music. Either way some streaming music sites that go well with this are Last.FM (my Last.FM profile), Pandora (my Pandora profile), and (my playlist profile), feel free to add me as a friend on any of them. Radio stations are ok unless they're heavy on the commercials, which can break your concentration.
     The first few times through this free-write may feel awkward or even clumsy. Going the full ten minutes will probably take some getting used to. After a few tries you should loosen up, and begin feeling comfortable with it.
     In my own forays with this creative writing exercise, I have found it can produce some great poetry, among other things. Often it provides seeds for stories or scenes. Since you are basically streaming from your subconscious more than usual, it can even help guide you to solutions for story pieces or plot points you may be struggling with if you have been thinking about it a lot. Free-writes are great for mining for scraps to use in your regular writing. Sometimes you'll find that you are writing a story you didn't even know was in your head.
     When I created Decadent Angels, this was one of two creative writing exercises I used simultaneously (the other will be linked here). Of all the writing warm-ups I've tried this one is my favorite. It's great for exploring your imagination and for exploring your stories and characters in a way that can remove some of the pressures and confines of your novel or story. Largely because you can feel more comfortable not using whatever material you come up with through it, after all it is just a warm-up. It also can put you into the frame of mind to work on said story quickly. Maybe even kick the snot of writer's block more often than without it. I'd recommend making special playlists or Pandora stations some of your more personally compelling stories, characters or series. Music is a powerful tool for rapidly immersing yourself in one of your created worlds.
     Hope you find this useful. Who has tried this? What were your experiences with it? Did anything come out of it that surprised you?

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