I hope you all had a great holiday weekend.
One good thing about all of the rain this week is that kept me inside writing!
I’ve been writing for television for the last couple of years, and wanted to return to writing a screenplay or fiction. In order to discover what was on my mind, I began to write three pages a day when I first got up. This lasted for about a week, and then I kept finding reasons why I was “too busy” get around to it. I am a writer, so a certain amount of procrastination is expected, but I saw that part of the reason was that I had nothing to write about that interested me!
What to do? I’d recently made a new friend in an acting class, who was also a writer. We decided meet for two hours to write. We are both comedy writers, and she has won 6 Emmy awards, so I was fortunate to have her as a partner.
The night before we met, I had a dream in which I was a teenager raiding the fridge late at night. Hanging on the crisper drawer, was a handwritten sign with the word “occasion” written in large black letters in my own handwriting. When I woke up, I interpreted the dream as being a sign that I should work on writing about the occasions in my own life.
My writing partner arrived, and once settled at my office work table, asked, “What should we write about?”
” An occasion,” I said, “I had this dream last night about the word.” We discussed what an occasion meant, and determined that for our purposes, the word meant a memorable event.
I set that timer for 15 minutes and off we went, both of us writing so fast and hard the table literally shook. When the alarm went off we were so concentrated that it startled us. I reset the timer for five minutes and we finished up.
The next step was to read our work aloud. Giggling, we each read our story. Then we sat for a moment quietly, and my friend said, “let’s do it again!” We completed another exercise and decided to meet once a week to pursue writing in this fun way.
After five sessions, doing my morning pages has become something I look forward to because the writing sessions reminded me of how much I love to write. I haven’t found my new story yet, but can feel that it’s on the way!
The point of this newsletter is to suggest that it’s important to write for its’ own sake, and to just have fun–not be always be focused on publication or production.
Whether you work alone or with a partner, the keys to success are to use a timer set up for a short interval such as 15 minutes and to have prepared several writing prompts before the session begins. Writing prompts can include such topics as a first kiss, what you ate for breakfast, or how you feel about politics or God. I personally like to use a one-word prompt such as “occasion.”
Here’s to your successful writing,
Professor Marilyn Horowitz