If you want to make yourself write outside your comfort zone, I recommend convening smart nice people together for a week and asking them to write/share/colonize. (It also helps to give them $100 and the opportunity to purchase one hour of graduate credit, cheap.)
Oh, and don’t forget to ask someone else to run it. Jack Martin is leading us.
That’s the basic idea behind the CSUWP Writers’ Colony (WC) that is…
meeting this week in Loft, the bookstore at the back of The Bean Cycle in Fort Collins. We’re meeting together from 8:30am-12:30pm, and here’s the drill:
- Someone from the group provides a morning pages prompt each day, and we write in response to it for 15 minutes or so. Volunteers share.
- We stay or depart with our writing groups to wander around Old Town until we find a place where we want to write. We get to set the agenda for our own writing groups. Some of us are just writing. Some are writing, sharing, then revising based on feedback. Some are sending work in advance so they can spend the entire time responding to one another’s work.
- We come back around noon and write again to another prompt, then share a few responses. We report on what we did that day and what we think we might do the next day.
There are 12 of us in the colony this week. It’s a nice size because we can all fit into the Loft; plus we’ve been able to divide evenly into writing groups of 3. Several other CSUWP fellows wanted to join us, too, but couldn’t because their houses were in the line of the High Park Fire or for other less terrifying reasons. So that they and anyone else can see what we’re up to this week, over the next few days, I’m going to share our daily writing prompts here. I’ve also invited my WC buddies to share snippets of their responses in the comments section below.
Here’s the prompt Jack gave us on Monday morning.
- For the first 5 minutes, write something with a beginning, middle, and end. Your topic is “spiders.”
- For the next 5 minutes, write another something with a beginning, middle, and end. Your topic is “grief.”
- For the last 5 minutes, fiddle with what you’ve written.
Here’s what I wrote about spiders. It’s a 5-minute draft. I don’t know if I will do anything else with it or not, but I might, so feel free to comment. Also, don’t forget to read responses to the prompt written by other WC folks in the Comments section below.
She thought it was important to save them. So sometimes, when someone else was in the act of smashing, she shrieked, “Stop! I will do it!” But then she didn’t.
Instead, she found a piece of paper, a largish plastic cup. She slid the paper under the spider (and always thought the word “gingerly”), then covered the spider with the cup, and balanced them like a little top hat all the way to the door. She slid it open, flung the spider onto the patio and out loud, she wished it well.
The out-loud part was important, she felt. And, in fact, she talked to the spider the entire time in soothing tones. She didn’t know if it could hear, but that was beside the point.
The point was rescue, and she felt that the spider could feel the vibrations of it. This seemed important to everyone—the rescued, the smashers, the rescuer. As if they all could learn something from the saving of all the almost-smashed life, skittering off to somewhere.