I have quite a few writing books on my bookshelves. Today I started working with one of them. It’s Take Ten for Writers by Bonnie Neubauer.
The subtitle says that the book will help me “generate ideas and stimulate my writing in only 10 minutes a day”.
Since one of my goals for the year is to write every single day, I opened the book and did the first exercise in the book. It’s a little complicated to explain the exercises and how they work, but I dutifully set my timer app for 10 minutes and, following the instructions for the exercise, freewrote this:
After a long day reprograming the warp spheres, I am finally able to be alone. I wish I had not volunteered for this mission. I don’t think the powers that be understand how frightful it is for us to be so far away from home. Just today, as I was walking about on the surface of the warp sphere, I looked up into the sky and saw a curling flame of dangerous fluorescence lighting up the darkness of the sky. We call it a sky, but in truth it’s space. Deep, unending, eternal and everlasting. Stare too long into the deep black, as we call it and there’s no doubt, at least we’ve convinced ourselves, you will go mad. But back to the curls of flame I saw against the black.
They whipped along, tendrils of green, gold, yellow, red and blue light, writhing and twisting around each other like a ball of serpents. I knew it was dangerous to remain so long on the surface of the sphere, but I could not draw my eyes away from the sight. It was only later that I learned that what I had been looking at was the wake from a passing swarm of subspace comets. Dangerous not only to navigation but to our mission here. The scientist that explained it to me was vague on just how dangerous. That troubled me. I had never seen this phenomenon before and, although she insisted it was a rare occurrence and nothing to concern myself about, I could hear the untruth in her voice. It was like a scream that lay just below the surface of her stolid, measured words. Silent, but unmistakable. She was afraid. They all are afraid. Every one of them who “volunteered” for this mission into the void.
I refuse to admit my fear to any of them, but I know we are all going to die before our mission is complete. And I believe that those back at the High Command will merely write us and our mission off as a necessary risk for the right to be the first to explore this region of space. It will not matter to those we left behind on Terra as to how we died or if we were afraid or brave or just clueless as to the horror that we were facing. I doubt that they will ever know the truth. My elder mother and my younger father will be told some lie to save my face and theirs. No doubt High Command will compensate them in some way.
Perhaps my name will be engraved on the Wall of the Fallen. And then my last-stage parents will come and lay a coral flower underneath my name and weep at how I failed them by not providing the heir needed to carry on the family name. That I chose instead, in defiance of their wishes and entreaties, to come out here to the edge of all that is known to die a useless, at least in their eyes, death among strangers. But it was my choice after all. I had a right to choose what path my life would take. And it’s not as if my siblings, all fifteen and 1/4 of them, cannot carry on the family name. My elder mother was, I knew, counting on me as she had always counted on me. I was her favorite, after all, the one who most resembled younger mother.
Nothing fancy, of course, but I felt good after I was done and who knows, later on I may get an idea from it that I can expand on.
Another part of the exercise was to sum up my creative process in ten words.
This is what I came up with.
My Creative Process in Ten Words:
- Draft Some More
- Revise Again
- Revise Still More
- Revise Even More
Pretty basic process. I mostly get stuck on 4 and 5 and that’s because drafting is my LEAST favorite thing to do. I hate drafting because I know it’s crap I’m writing. At least most of it is. I suppose I should give myself a little credit. 🙂 But I won’t have anything to revise unless I draft it first. So I draft as fast as I can. Like super-duper fast to get those crappy words on the page as quickly as I can. I draft the entire story before I even think about revising. And I usually let my draft cool for a few weeks before I look at it again. While it’s cooling, I start working on my next project.
So, anyway, I like this book a lot so far. It’s quite engaging as it’s full of colorful drawings and collages that accompany the exercises and help to spur the imagination.
The fact that I want to write a lot more everyday got me to thinking about taking better care of my hands and wrists while I’m typing. I know I need to work on the ergonomics of my desk, chair and laptop, but I did find this video on exercises you can stop and do every now and then, especially if you’re doing a lot of typing. They only takes a few minutes. If this one doesn’t work for you, just search around. There are tons of them out there.