After much internal debate regarding writing practices and the distraction I believed they would be from writing my novel, I’ve changed my mind. And the book that helped me decide is Judy Reeves‘ A Writer’s Book of Days. After a friend in my writing group recommended it and I leafed through his copy, I went home and ordered it the same day – the hard copy, not a Kindle edition :).
Within a week of using it, I’ve come to the realization that most other writers I admire already know – taking the time every day to do a creative writing practice is helping me with my novel. Additionally, I’m overcoming the trepidation I initially had when I started doing prompts with my writer’s group.
I’m only a few chapters in, but I already know this book and I are going to be longtime companions.
What have I learned so far? Most importantly, that these practices are just that – practices. Not to be analyzed, critiqued or edited, they really just serve to prime the engine; get your mind conditioned to being able to put pen to paper without thinking every word has to be perfect.
The book is great because the prompts are at the bottom of the page – one for every day of the year, so there’s tons of room where Reeves breaks out the year in months by topics such as Letting Go of Expectations, Self Sabotage, Getting Unstuck, and Clichés and Other Bad Habits. Then to make it really interesting, she throws in some fun facts about everyone’s favorite writers:s
- Emily Dickenson wrote 1,800 poems, and only seven were published while she was alive.
- Alice Hoffman paints her office a new color every time she starts a new book – one that she believes echos the book’s motif.
- Herman Melville was a worked at the New York Harbor, as a customs inspector.
I’m excited to have found a resource that’s led me in a new direction. I look forward to each day when I can find my prompt for the day, set the timer on my iPhone, let my mind wander and let the muse come out to play!
If you’re a writer, do you use writing practices to stir your imagination? I’d love to hear about your experience.