Writing Like I’m Alive
Creativity sprint - ready, set, go
‘Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens.’ Ray Bradbury
The only time I wrote every day for a month I was rewriting. When I signed up for Zoetic Press’s creativity sprint, Write Like You’re Alive, I was provoking myself…
Me: Go on, write a new story every single day in July AND immediately submit it to an editor, I DARE YOU.
Gonzo (my creative brain): Whoopee! Hooray!
Sniffy Neg (my inner critic): I always knew she was bonkers, but this puts a cherry on it.
Gonzo: Yay! Doolally time!
Sniffy Neg: I think you’ll find she’s simply avoiding that tricky second draft of the over-complex novel she’ll probably never finish, and if she does nobody would ever read it anyway.
Gonzo: What’ve you ever written, Sniffy?
Sniffy Neg: Apology notes. Never mind, this malarkey starts while she’s on holiday. Over before it’s even started...
A week in, with six stories and a first episode submitted, one each day, I do feel more than ordinarily alive, even a little more myself.
Gonzo: This is flipping brilliant, yeah? You just sit down and listen to me and do the tippy-tappy-typing thing and KABOOM! There’s a brand new little story that didn’t exist before. And it’s ace, yeah, cos you haven’t got the time to interrupt me with trying to be all clever. I feel especially amazing. I am AMAZING! I am A HUNDRED FEET TALL! Ooh, I can see the sea from here. Sparkly.
Me: I am involved, a little bit, you know, with the words and the punctuation and details like that.
Sniffy Neg: And she’s embarrassing herself, not for the first time.
Me: Our one-man fan club liked the stories. He fidgets when he doesn’t.
Gonzo: It’s all because all the time, every day, you’re paying proper attention, looking for the sort of stuff I like, like a treasure hunter! A treasure hunter with wings!
Me: Interesting - wings that grew in, or a steampunk contraption, maybe a futuristic modification?
Sniffy Neg: *sniffs* Well, she’s had it easy, on holiday. It’ll all go pear-shaped this week, back at work. What’s she gonna write about, eh? The unbearable brightness of spreadsheets? The milk kitty conspiracy?
Me: Way ahead of you, Sniffy. That’s why I’m writing this blog, labelled writing prompts - I’m stockpiling in case I get stuck. You ready, Gonzo?
Gonzo: *twirls* Whee!
Questions for a hypothetical future version of me who is completely stuck for ideas:
What must it be like to tell fortunes – what if you could – or couldn’t?
When were you most frightened – how could it have been quite significantly scarier?
If you lived your life like a pen and paper RPG, how would that work out?
Overheard any weird one-liners e.g. ‘It started with an arctic’? What’s the next line?
What if there were no transition between youth and old age?
What is the most romantic moment you ever witnessed in public – how could it have been weirder?
What if there were a word, apart from housework, more unlikely than that, which changed your mood instantly, every time?
Have you asked your colleagues to tell you their weirdest little stories yet?
What would your utopia look like and why would it disgust your hero?
Where did the money hidden in the cello come from?
Get the dictionary, not that one, the old one, which is the first word that tastes delicious? Serve it.
If you could understand the constantly cackling gulls, what would they say, and how would you reply?
Don’t think too hard: what’s your favourite fable and what genre does it totally not belong in?
What would you do while you were waiting for your toes to drop off?
Why haven’t you picked one of Mr G’s photos at random?
If a hero came into town, how would you draw them and what would you have them fix?
What if you or somebody less likely than you became addicted to something odd e.g. 2p shovers?
You know that book, that you really hated the ending? Yeah, that one, or that one - how would you have ended it?
Hopefully, that's plenty for Gonzo to play with. Wish us luck. I'll let you know how it goes.
Gonzo: you haven't forgotten about the flying treasure hunter with amazing wings have you?
Me: I've a feeling she's all I'll be able to think about until I write her. She's today's story, is she?