Quick Backstory™ for those of you who don’t know me: I’m a comedian/writer/podcaster/uglycrier who recently moved to Los Angeles for reasons. While here, I’ve wanted to shift more from standup into longform writing, which has always been a passion of mine, but is something that sort of fell off as priorities fell more to writing for sketch and comedy. So, I wanted to take March as a way to jumpstart getting back into Writing Every Day.
I’ve fallen out of the habit, and truly, it’s just as much craft and habit as it is art. In my process of trying to motivate myself post-move, I’ve been reading a lot of books about creativity, including my friend Grant Faulkner’s book ‘Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo’.
Grant, on top of his work with NaNoWriMo and more, is an accomplished and brilliant writer, especially in the realm of Flash Fiction. Which gave me an idea:
Every weekday in March, I’m going to wake up, get a randomly-assigned prompt of either fiction or nonfiction (I like to write and read both), and I’m going to just write something under 1000 words… and post it here. The idea being that I would be held accountable by others and something short so I don’t spend all of my time building it up too much. Just write. Seriously, just do it. And then be done with it. This is my quest.
In № 39 of ‘Pep Talks for Writers’: “Trusting in the Absurd” (of course, my favorite chapter), Grant says:
“Chase the fleeting. Cry into the silence. Dive in to the pitch and thrall of it all. Doo-wop the wingding of the clamor of your imbroglio.”
And I don’t think anything can sum up this month’s windmill tilt any better. So, with that, I’m actually going to CHOOSE the first assignment, which is also from № 39 of ‘Pep Talks for Writers’:
Write down words–not sentences, just words. Write them as quickly and spontaneously as you can because you want to make wild associative leaps, to think in a surreal way. Combine disjointed pairings: blue cow, dancing tree, constipated stone, muscular poodle. Do this for 15 minutes. Are your notions of language enlivened? Did such odd word matching spark any new thoughts?
[15 minutes later.]
Trash, Fear, Red, Alone, Quiet, Sloth, Contemporary, Gone, Quell, Intense, Cry, Sleek, Righteous, Fierce, Ram, Montana, Less, Fire, Contagious, Mail, Shiva, Body, Apex, Forest, Retro, Orangutan, Finance, Quintillion, Gorgeous, Relic, Candle, Kleptocracy, Studebaker, Layer, Cat, Kiln, Portrait, Religious, Oomph, Drying, Fork
Personal favorite combos:
Apex Studebaker, Orangutan Kleptocracy, Intense Sloth, Gorgeous Drying, Contagious Contemporary, Layer Cat, Oomph Mail, Finance Fork, and of course the wrestler name of Ram Montana.
This sort of became a form of meditation in some ways. I tried to resist doing a stream-of-consciousness because I didn’t want it to turn into word association (though I feel it sometimes did, which is inevitable) and I sort of wanted to see what would come up from the depths. And there we have it! It actually felt pretty good, I feel invigorated.