Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Writing Prompt Thursday (#wpthu): 26 April 2012

If this is the first time you've heard of Writing Prompt Thursday, you'll want to visit the #wpthu page on Mindful Living Guide. The page includes: 1) a brief introduction to the Writing Prompt Thursday online community, 2) two super-easy (email address only) subscription forms so that you're automatically kept abreast of all things #wpthu, and 3) information on how to get the embed code for the new #wpthu badge for your own blog or website.


Today's #wpthu prompt ...

This week's writing prompt asks us to turn to a clean sheet of paper and to write down a word which easily and effortlessly comes to mind. First, however, take a few moments to sit quietly and ground yourself in the present moment (see this post for additional tips). Then choose a word which is close to the bone, perhaps emanating out of your feelings in the moment, or a poignant experience in your recent or long-ago past.

Any ol' word will do, so don't hem and haw.

Now, having written down that first word, continue to compile, associatively, a collection of words — called a word hoard. Do this with a feather-light touch, nurturing a letting go of any creative burden. Simply allow words to flow through you and onto the page. The words can also form phrases and other snippets of language, and they needn't make any sense to you or to anyone who might stumble upon your word hoard and wonder what the connection might be between the various words or phrases.

Do this for about 5-10 minutes.

You might also consider recruiting a friend, family member or a total stranger sitting next to you in a café, or what have you, and taking turns adding a word or phrase to a shared word hoard (but which you both compile, in its entirety, on your own piece of paper so that you each end up with the same list which includes each other's contributions). This can be a lot of fun to do with one or more folk, but it's also good to remember that this is an incredibly powerful writing tool which can be done on one's own.

Once you've compiled your word hoard, spend some time going over the words and phrases, etc. And underline or otherwise demarcate those words or phrases which hold some energy for you, which you're curious about, which you might simply like the physical sound of when spoken.

Then choose one of those words or phrases, write it down on the top of another clean sheet of paper, and free write for another 10 minutes or so in response to it.

Note that I said "in response to" rather than "about" it. A subtle yet powerful difference. While the latter might lend itself to writing a descriptive piece about something, the former provides far-ranging flexibility to start off writing in response to that first word or phrase and then end up somewhere far afield.

This is not only allowed, it is encouraged. So nurture this possibility, this letting go and following the pen wherever it leads you. And you might well find that other words from the word hoard find their way into your piece of writing. Allow for this, but don't force it. Let whatever comes naturally flow onto the page.

This simple tool is a great way to get the pen moving, whether you're developing a writing practice or have a particular writing project which you're working on. You can organically compile a word hoard with no intention of sticking to a theme; or, you can collect one centered around a theme or particular writing topic as a means to quickly identify possible avenues to explore in developing a more formal work.

Most importantly, enjoy the process, and the ease of writing which compiling a word hoard can inspire.

As always with #wpthu, write longhand (it's good to get away from the computer for a while, and to reawaken your writing hand). Nurture a sense of letting go of any creative burden, self-critical judgment, or comparison (with yourself in times past, or with others). Keep your pen moving. And honor, truly honor, whatever flows through you and onto the page. This is great practice in learning to trust in the process.

Roll Call: Are you going to participate in today's #wpthu challenge? If so, and you have a Twitter account, please tweet your intention by clicking on the Retweet button in the below tweet. And if you haven't already done so, you can also Follow Mindful Living Guide:

— Consider sharing, in the comments below, a piece of writing which emanates from today's writing prompt. What was your experience of gathering a word hoard? How might it have influenced your writing today? Also, please help us spread word of Writing Prompt Thursday by clicking on any of the below social media share buttons. Thank you.

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