Fall Writing Exercise Series #34: Differential Repetition

The Notebooking Daily Fall Writing Series is a daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep your creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

These exercises are not meant to be a standard writing session. They are meant to be productive and to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink them, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

Differential Repetition

For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which contains the following phrase at least four times (non-sequentially):

"Nothing at all like _______."

    Think of various things that might be compared that are similar in one way but very different in others. Think of things that are complete opposites and then find things that are similar to the opposite thing and compare the new thing and the original. Just, you know, explore juxtapositions for a bit and find a running theme. Or do something completely different. Just be sure that the repeated phrase earns its worth in your piece. It should be necessary.

    Bonus Exercise: Also include one description of a stuffed animal, and include the words "Poolside" "Radiate" "Linen" and "Ruby".

    If you'd like some background music to write to, try the debut studio album Based on a True Story by New Zealand ska band Fat Freddy's Drop. It has a definite 40oz to Freedom vibe.