Posted in Of Writingly

Real Time Ramble: Writing and Creating


I attended a writing workshop after a long, long time yesterday. I haven’t spoken favourably about them in the past, but that has more to do with the way I am than the way writing classes are generally conducted. I was relieved that I wasn’t asked the question, “Why do you want to write?” But, that was probably because of lack of time. Instead, we focused on writing itself. Not a how-to-write, but a more direct – write.

I panicked. I haven’t written much this year. I think it has to do with the fact that I’m getting older and I equate that with being more mature and how-I-hate-that-compound-word grown-up, which translates into the writing world as “write a book, you idiot.” That is it. I haven’t written much at all in 2018 because I’ve only wanted to write a book.

But, you cannot write a book in two minutes, which is what we were told to do in the first exercise. We were given a prompt – “Eye Contact” – and told to write as many words as possible that we associated with it, and then to write as many lines as possible that connected at least a few of those words.

Here are my words:

Tension  blue-green  hold  release  catch  swerve  palpitation  spark  intense  grey  bewitch  connect  eyelashes  lift

And here are my sentences:

The hold of her blue-green diminished in power as her attention swerved to the lightning spark tattooed on my left wrist. ‘And this is?’ she spoke, lifting her lashes to illuminate the brilliance of her eyes even more. I was getting good at this game of tension and release. Catch, I whispered in my mind, as I told her, ‘To commemorate my time stuck in the …’

Now, future Amrita wants to change at least 40% of the above. But, past Amrita, who had to come up with most of this in the additional 30 seconds which was given to her because she had only written ‘The hold of her blue-green’ before, was exhilarated to have come up with anything at all. To be coming up with things in the first place.

We also wrote a short story as a group which was just as thrilling. It was nice to bounce ideas, focus on whether words, phrases and the minutest details worked for what we were all trying to do. Obviously, it needed further work, but just to writing so publicly, so openly, which I really haven’t done in a long time, not for something related to storytelling, was a feeling I could see myself getting addicted to. And as with all potential addictions, it makes me panic.

Predominantly, I’ve been a non-fiction writer. I also write short stories, plays, bits and pieces of novels but never completed ones. Now, a novel can be anything, a book can be more of an anything and if I put all these bits and pieces together, something of a thing might possibly emerge.

But, then my mind swerves, as we did with my character up there, and I feel I should be grown-up about this and write something that might actually get picked up by a publisher. You might say that’s stupid, just write what you want to write and stop caring, but I haven’t been able to avoid these thoughts. Maturity, I believe, has nothing to do with age and everything to do with responsibility. As long as you do everything in your capacity to make life for yourself and everyone around you easier, you’re being mature. And you can do all that when you’re eight years old.

It was such a pleasure and a relief to be free from these thoughts in the duration of the workshop. To just create – i.e. put stuff together to reach somewhere you have little idea of as yet. It wasn’t about polishing anything, or working towards a definite purpose. I didn’t have to be self-conscious, as I became after it was over and we started getting to know each other. I know all this sound terribly romantic and they have not enlightened me in any guaranteed way towards getting to that goal of being a full-time book writer person who doesn’t have to commute to work everyday and can occupy herself with living in her head for greater periods of time. I’m not against work, of course, but I just wish life allowed more of this and less of…I really haven’t got words to adequately describe the other without being overemotional about it.

Maybe writing about it once (and when.and if.) I have some distance from my current life will help.

What do you like to create? Any tips on creating?


Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

11 thoughts on “Real Time Ramble: Writing and Creating

  1. Almost every great creating person had to augment their income with something else. I think an outside job helps the mind to relax from creating and also fosters ideas. One of my author friends says she gets great ideas while picking up after the dog, which is very peculiar since she writes romances!

    1. Ha ha! They say doing chores can boost your creativity. You keep busy, but you also get to think. I’ve never believed that being a full-time writer would be easier, or altogether realizable. All the writers I admire, no matter how financially successful they are, also do other things like teach classes or does things related to writing. My current situation in life has nothing to do with writing, which is one of the reasons I’m unhappy with it. It’s about the furthest from anything creative/artistic. Which is why I’d like to change it. But, we all have to make a living…

  2. I think writing in a workshop like you described would send my stress level into the stratosphere. I am glad you found it helpful. For me, I have set up a daily ritual to write something, even just 100 words. It is a habit I am beginning to rely on and miss if something interferes. Best of luck to you on your writing journey.

    1. I really was nervous as hell! It was quite early in the morning and I tried hard to just go ahead with it. I can’t write under pressure of that kind either, which is why I hadn’t fared well in previous classes. But, it was such a relief to have something on a page. Also, the instructor was really nice and friendly.
      I think that’s a great habit. You can get good and stay good at any other skill, like playing an instrument or dancing, by doing it everyday. So why not writing? Also, I never thought about just writing, something like 100 words when usually they tell you to do 1-2k/1 hour. I always get overwhelmed by a word count, so that is a very useful and realistic way to go about it. Thank you😁.

      1. Oh I feel your pain. I figured 100 words was very doable. If for some reason the story stretches further and and time allows and I get more words on the page, then that is a bonus. The thing that keeps me honest is I publish them every day. 😥 I started this in June and it was going well. I had a bit of a hiccup the last two weeks because my sweetie is in the hospital, but I have been trying. Looks like he will be discharged tomorrow so maybe things will get back to normal… whatever that is. 😊

      2. I’m sorry to hear that. I hope he gets well soon.🙂 You can definitely pick it up from where you left off as it is an easy and realistic habit. Back when I was more focused, I counted conscious daydreaming, i.e.thinking about writing, as productive too. Writing doesn’t always have to be about putting things down!

  3. Great post! I’m so intrigued by the idea of doing this. I’ll have to look into it because it does sound exciting. It also sounds like you had a teacher who really wanted to challenge all of you , no matter your writing style, frequency, comfort level, etc. Well done!

    1. Thanks Robert! I really hope you try it out. I’ve done workshops before with proper writers who expect more, are more ‘literary’, if you know what I mean. But, maybe because she wasn’t, she focused more on the words rather than what kind of writing it was (her background in Psychology may have something to do with it) we just kept all that aside and worked.

  4. That ‘eye contact’ exercise sounds intriguing – and I appreciate that past Amrita shared her experiences. And present Geoff looks forward to what future Amrita will have to say when given longer than 30 seconds!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s