Friday Writing Exercise 0 Comments

Friday Writing Exercise

Ah, the humble journal. It’s gentle pages a refuge for all the useless strings of words we pour into them. A place for inspirations, failed flirtations and dissertations but largely just a dump for words that don’t belong anywhere else.

There is an art to keeping a journal, although sometimes the pages upon pages of nonsense and drivel hardly seem worth the effort. However, Sari Smith rightly points out that by keeping journals, writers can allow their subconscious to run a little freer, and ‘watch their own minds at work'(1).

By honing your writing practice through volume and allowing an idea to germinate before enforcing structure upon it, writers can find out what their material is and become fluent in its language. ‘Just as an artists has to practise the skills of painting or sculpture, the writer needs to practise and must not wait until a worthy idea comes along to develop the necessary facility with language.'(2)

Today’s Friday Writing Exercise is not so much a task as a reminder to write for writing’s sake. Write because you can’t not write. Write because something strikes you as beautiful, or silly, or true. Write because you’re alive and thinking.

Smith often asks her students to write in class, telling them ‘it should be as easy as breathing, that they should be able to pick up a pen at any time and write.'(3)

In the end, it doesn’t matter what you write in your journal. You might be the only person to read it. Your journal is an open space, a free space, for you to experiment in. My journal is metallic gold. I carry it everywhere.

(1) Smith, Sari, ‘Journals and Notebooks’, Walker, Brenda (ed.). The Writer’s Reader, p13. Northampton, MA : Tundra Publishing, 1993.

(2) Smith, Sari, ‘Journals and Notebooks’, Walker, Brenda (ed.). The Writer’s Reader, p14. Northampton, MA : Tundra Publishing, 1993.

(3) Ibid.

Izzy Roberts-Orr is a Voiceworks Poetry EdCommer. She writes poetry, plays and reviews. She posts stuff on a blog. She tweets@izasmiz.

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