Tag Archives: Natalie Goldberg

Catching Up with My Blogging Assignments: Day 3 Commit to a Writing Practice

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It has been a busy week and I haven’t been online to post my assignments. Thank goodness there are no weekend assignments so I can catch up!

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DAY 3: Commit to a Writing Practice

Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?

Today, try free writing. To begin, empty your mind onto the page. Don’t censor yourself; don’t think. Just let go. Let the emotions or memories connected to your three songs carry you.

 

Today’s twist: You’ll commit to a writing practice. The frequency and the amount of time you choose to spend today — and moving forward — are up to you, but we recommend a minimum of fifteen uninterrupted minutes per day.

The basic unit of writing practice is the timed exercise.

– Natalie Goldberg

 

There have been many times when music has carried me through painful parts of my life. Powerful medium that it is. But I don’t really want to write about negative points in my life today some I am choosing music from other times.

When I was a teenager I stopped listening to popular music as the charts were filled by bad pop, I was interested in the 60s (the whole culture of the time) I started getting interested in my first hero, John Lennon. My parents had always had vinyl records, my dad had a lot of The Beatles.

The three important songs are;

The Doors – Crystal Ship

The Beatles – Hey Jude

Bob Marley – Redemption Song

 

The Doors – I have been a Doors fan since I was a teen, this is my favourite Doors song, there are numerous times I have listened to it when I have been in need. The familiarity of a song which can take me right back to a previous time in my life, with ease. Music I can always get lost in.

When I had finished my A-Levels I went to camp in France with other similar aged people. There was a beer tent where we all met in the evening, there were multi-languages, young people from all over Europe and beyond. This song was played by the guitarists and everyone sang along (to the chorus at least) despite language barriers – it was a moment of unity. Powerful. I loved the fact that it was The Beatles bringing us together, especially a generation who never knew them.

Bob Marley – got me down from the Eiffel Tower, now this may sound trivial – but when I first climbed up it, I had no idea I suffered from vertigo – it took two good friends and the whole of the song repeated many times over to get to the bottom of those metal (see the world through) steps. It took hours. We were performing street theatre in Paris at the time, the rest of the college group had to wait for ages for me to come down. The thought of this memory, still makes me feel sick.

 

Author Natalie Goldberg says to “burn through to first thoughts, to that place where energy is unobstructed by social politeness or the internal censor.” Here are some of her rules of free writing practice from Writing Down the Bones, which we recommend you keep in mind:

  • Keep your hand moving. (Don’t pause to reread the line you’ve just written. That’s stalling and trying to get control of what you’re saying.)
  • Don’t cross out. (That is editing as you write. Even if you write something you didn’t mean to write, leave it.)
  • Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar. (Don’t even care about staying within the margins and lines on the page.)
  • Lose control.
  • Don’t think. Don’t get logical.
  • Go for the jugular. (If something comes up in your writing that is scary or naked, dive right into it. It probably has lots of energy.)

Jorge Luis Borges said: “Writing is nothing more than a guided dream.” So, what are you waiting for? Get writing. Fifteen minutes. Go. And then, do it again tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after.

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I am committing to a 10 minute free write a day as I have a diary full of writing that I am currently working on and know that I can stick to 10 minutes, whereas 15 seems unobtainable, on the days when I have time I will write until 15 minutes passes.

Writing 101 – Building a Blogging Habit

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Brought to you from THE DAILY POST Writing 101

 

JUST WRITE

In this inaugural assignment, let’s loosen up and just write. We’re so excited you’ve joined us — let’s get started!

I am very excited, the weekends are unprompted so we have 20 days of writing activities ahead, they are also cite Natalie Goldberg, who I love, her books gave me my first nervous strokes into the waters of writing beyond poetry.

Last year I put myself through so much study; workshops, day events, toolkits, lectures, online courses – this year I have concentrated on producing work and the study has taken a back seat, spurred on by my workshop this weekend I am ready to give over to this daily event and will do my best to post daily regardless of work and weekday busyness!

Oh, look… a new SHINY badge! writing-101-june-2014-class-badge-2

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You write because you have an idea in your mind that feels so genuine, so important, so true. And yet, by the time this idea passes through the different filters of your mind, and into your hand, and onto the page or computer screen — it becomes distorted, and it’s been diminished. The writing you end up with is an approximation, if you’re lucky, of whatever it was you really wanted to say.

– Author Khaled Hosseini, “How to Write,” the Atlantic

 

To get started, let’s loosen up. Let’s unlock the mind. Today, take twenty minutes to free write. And don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write.

Keep typing (or scribbling, if you prefer to handwrite for this exercise) until your twenty minutes are up. It doesn’t matter if what you write is incomplete, or nonsense, or not worthy of the “Publish” button.

And for your first twist? Publish this stream-of-consciousness post on your blog.

dividercolleen mullaney

The sun is shining through the blinds, which are shut, the brightness plays havoc with my eyes, squinting at the computer screen doesn’t help. I can hear traffic on the road, cars racing home before rush hour begins, although it is Monday, at the beginning of the week the traffic jams start around 4pm.

I have spent the whole day feeling washed out and glazed over, tired. I had an early enough night but woke at 5:30 this morning, before the larks I think! I couldn’t get back to sleep and it was after 7:30 before I set my alarm for quarter past eight. I woke up at 10.

I panicked as I was expected to take hold of a delivery and also I knew I had the whole day to write and sort the kitchen and I wanted an early start. I have been treading through treacle ever since.

The delivery came, two sun loungers with multi-coloured stripy mattresses, ready to relax on this summer, or hopefully before, if the weather picks up. The weather last week was particularly dreadful. I had the week off work, typically my plans to sun myself outside for the week were scuppered! The first weekend of the holidays my friends and I all took off to the South coast – in torrential rain and Bank Holiday nose-to-bumper traffic, the epic journey took over 5 hours of driving and it was over 4 before I unfolded my body, stopped driving and got out of the car. I realise anybody reading this from larger countries will think nothing of this journey but we can get to Scotland in seven hours and this journey took more than double the time it should have.

We had a great time but it wasn’t a long enough break, although I was happy I didn’t have to go back to work on Tuesday, like everyone else. Have only had a few days to relax since though. So busy, always so busy. I think it’s better that way, it keeps my mind off things, stops me thinking too deeply.

After spending the day alone writing (and cleaning), I am now adjusting to sharing the room again. The TV remote is in action and the channels are being flicked faster than I can type. The TV programme chosen is one that I won’t worry about missing from our (almost always full) planner. I find it hard to focus on free writing when there is a script and visuals that I can see just over the top of the laptop.

It is a film.

I love films. Love relaxing ready to watch one at home. Feet up on the settee ready for a whole world to open up around you, going places without ever having to move. I like them in cinemas too, the sheer luxury of it as it has become an expensive night out. We have a surround sound system but it’s not Dolby or attached to the walls and to have popcorn, we’d have to microwave it first.

My fingers tap lighter on the keys, so the narrative can be heard, I wouldn’t be able to watch a film with some tip, tapping away. It’s funny what affects some people has no impact on others. And yet sometimes if we are both watching something, even a shuffling foot can burst his audio visual bubble of focus.

I am aware of time now, I have been checking without stopping typing two or three times, I can glance down to the computer clock. But now it reads 17:05 and I know I have just 5 minutes of this un-interrupted free write left. I find it easier to free write by hand, something about the flow of ink, but I realised that part of the point of this assignment was to post our free writes and I know it would take me at least the same time again to type it up and I have a kitchen to finish cleaning. There is another load of washing up and rubbish to get rid of after a busy weekend. I managed to almost get on top of the laundry. Funny how there is only ever a window of a few hours before you are no longer ON TOP of the washing again!

In the last few minutes I find it amazing that this post is now over 1000 words (including the prompt itself) – we can work all day to get this many words written. Whether any of it will be useful is another question.

Leave your thoughts, I would love to hear which bits of this free write stand out and speak to you. I am going to read some from fellow Blogging /Writing 101 students when I have finished.

The clock tells me it is 17:10 – my 20 minutes is done. Deep breath now as I hit PUBLISH!

 

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