I’m Still In The Ideas Phase But, Any Day Now, I’m Going To Write The Great American Novel.

I can’t believe our workshop is almost over!! I feel like we’ve all made some amazing and really incredible progress. I once again have brought in zero pages, but I am loving all the pre-writing I’m doing. Really? You guys don’t do any pre-writing? But pre-writing is all the writing you have to do before you start writing: mind-maps, brain dumps, vision boards, spider scribes, brain noodles, verb scooters, teeny tiny thought poodles. In fact, I’d love to pass some of my pre-writing around! Just keep in mind it’s non-stop stream of consciousness and and is best read upside down.

Oh sure, we can move on to discussing Megan’s work. In fact, I’d love to start. Megan, you’ve done a fantastic job with the second draft of your novel! I’m so inspired by you. I know you’re about to send it to your publisher, so I just have some minor notes based on my pre-writing expertise. Page one feels clunky, try writing it backwards and see what still makes sense. Page two: take out the vowels, replace them with numbers. And pages 3–7: have you heard of concrete poems? It’s where you write a poem about a flower in the shape of a flower? I realize you’ve brought in historical fiction, but in a week you might discover that what you’ve really been writing is a diary entry in the shape of Abraham Lincoln’s head. This quote might help: “Writing is like a bird” — Ray Bradbury. It’s one of the 600 inspirational quotes I’ve papier-mâché-d into my pre-writing notebook. I find papier-mâché to be the most organic way to use language.

And Kyle, I adored your story. It’s so full of passion and truth. I know the title is “Japanese Internment Camp, California, 1942” but what if the story really takes place somewhere else? Just riffing here, but what about inside a hot air balloon or in a warren full of rabbits? Not saying you need to start from scratch, but I one-hundred percent would. I found this quote illuminating: “Writing is like a tired goat” — Joyce Carole Oates.

It’s time for a writing prompt, already? But I thought we were in the middle of giving notes? No problem, I roll with the punches! Can’t wait to start writing. Just need to do some pre-work. Here we go: fancy pens, multicolored notebooks, a portrait of Joan Didion, and of course my fully functioning Japanese water fountain. I just need to find an outlet, otherwise the water won’t run down the stones and I can’t get into my mental cave of creation without its pitter-patter. I don’t want to disturb, so could everyone just lift their feet while I crawl on the floor looking for an outlet? Thank you! Great socks, everyone. Oh Megan, I see an outlet right near your desk! You might want to move, as the water fountain has a splash radius of about 36 inches. Thank you dear, you are too kind! And now just some light breathwork while I stretch. SHAAAAAAAAAA — Wow, that prompt time went by super fast. I can’t believe class is already over. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make workshop next week as I’ve been given the opportunity to teach my own class! Apparently, there’s a burgeoning community of writers who are eager to learn how to clear their heads to start thinking about the idea of starting to start writing. As they say in the biz: “Writing like a wet dog” — Proust.