11/26/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #327: Title Mania Plus 51

    


The Notebooking Daily 2020 Writing Series is here! These are 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.

#327
Title Mania Plus 51

For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which uses one of the following as its title. Before you write, first read the poem from which the titles are selected. For a bonus challenge use the additional exercise of five random constraints.

Today's titles come from the awesome poem "Kiddie Pool Baptismal" by Cameron Morse recently published at Arctrus. Go read it first!


Titles:
  1. The Spigot
  2. Heal Me
  3. The Inventor of Water
  4. Spray Bottle
  5. The Dark Water Line
  6. Resist the Pastoral

Bonus Exercise: Three Things
(Your piece must also include the following three 'things')
  1. A Water Balloon
  2. A Flag
  3. A Snickers Candy Bar
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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this "Daily Routine" lofi mix.

11/25/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #326: Six Word Shootout 36

       


The Notebooking Daily 2020 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.

#326
Six Word Shootout 36

For today's writing exercise write a piece that includes the following six words. While it perfectly sets you up for a sestina, and while I am a sucker for homonyms, feel free to write whatever you'd like (but ya know, maybe give that sestina a shot!). Also feel free to make slight alterations to the required words if you want to avoid that eye-pokey repetition you can find in sestinas sometimes.

Required Words: 

1) Pull
2) Enough
3) Drugs
4) Before
5) Sever
6) Porch

-
Bonus Exercise: Include the following three things: The New York Mets, Pudding and a Squirrel.
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If you'd like some background music to write to, try 1974's Ken Rhodes :The Profile".

11/24/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #325: Three Things Together 55


The Notebooking Daily 2020 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.

#325
Three Things Together 55

F
or today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which contains the following three things, Nice and simple.
  1. A VW Beetle (classic)
  2. Boots
  3. Ragweed
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Bonus 'Five Words': Include these five words in your piece: Twelve, Check, Adjourn, Growth, Noose.

If you'd like some background music to write to, try this Avatar: The Last Airbender lofi playlist.

11/22/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #324: Erasing Roger Ebert 15 "The Last Survivor"

  

The Notebooking Daily 2020 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.

#324
Erasing Roger Ebert 15 "The Last Survivor"

For today's exercise we have split paths for fiction and poetry, though I highly recommend that even fiction writers try the poetry exercise, because erasures can be a blast!

For poetry do an erasure or black-out poem from the following:  Roger Ebert's review of the 1978 film "The Last Survivor" (1/2 a star) aka "Jungle Holocaust".

Roger Ebert has been the stereotypical film critic for decades, and he's written thousands of reviews. Because of their nature, almost their own bit of ekphrastic art, this series of erasures will be lots of fun!

An Erasure/Blackout is really simple: you take the given text and remove many words to make it your own new piece. One way to go about the erasure that I like to do is to copy the text and paste it twice into your document before you start erasing or blacking out (in MS Word set the text background color to black), that way if you get further into the erasure and decide you want a somewhat different tone or direction, it's easy to go to the unaltered version and make the erasure/black-out piece smoother. Another tip is to look for recurring words, in this example 'bingo' occurs multiple times and could be a good touchstone for your piece.

If you insist on fiction (or just feel like writing a "Title Mania" piece), write a piece with one of these  titles taken from this section:

  1. When to Walk Out
  2. Into the Rain Forest
  3. As They Ripped Flesh From Bone
  4. Authentic Anthropology
  5. By Accident
  6. Captured By Cannibals
  7. A Cross Between a Wrecking Ball and Pin Cushion


Erasure Selection:

Roger Ebert's review of "The Last Survivor"

Have you ever, friends sometimes ask me, just walked out on a movie? Yes, I say, I have… but not very often, because I’m being paid to sit there to the bitter end. In that case, they say, how do you know when to walk out? I didn't have a really satisfactory answer to that one until last Sunday night, when I walked out on “The Last Survivor.” Now I have an almost 100 percent accurate definition of when to walk out: When the cannibals start eating the human flesh.

That happened, oh, maybe 25 minutes into the movie, which had already distinguished itself as among the most idiotic films ever made. Survivors of a plane crash had penetrated into the rain forest and pushed aside the vines, and then the screen was filled with big subtitles which announced: Actual scenes of cannibals eating human flesh.

Were they really cannibals? Who knows? But they certainly seemed to be enjoying, themselves as they ripped flesh from bone and snatched morsels out of each other’s fingers (or fingers out of each other’s hands, I suppose). I got up and walked toward the door. Several of my fellow audience members, however, stopped in the aisles on the way to the popcorn stand so as not to miss this rare passage of authentic anthropology.

By walking out early, I missed my chance to find out how the last survivor did, in fact, survive. I can only assume he did it by accident, since the movie opened by establishing that all of its characters were terminally stupid.

Consider. A plane crash-lands in the jungle. Three men and a woman are on board. They get out and look solemnly for a missing wheel. Then one of the men runs into the jungle, just like that. Another man follows him. “You fool!” he says. “By running into the jungle like this, you could get lost.” He pauses for thought, and adds: “Now we are both lost!”

They find their way back to the plane. That night, the woman wanders off into the night and is captured by cannibals. The next morning, all three men wander off into the jungle again, and one of them is killed by a cannibal device that looks like a cross between a wrecking-ball and pin-cushion.

Meanwhile, we’re getting a lot of footage of snakes and alligators. It’s not that the characters in the movie fight off snakes and alligators, of course: It’s that they look off screen and say things like, “Look! Snakes!” Or sometimes, “Look! Alligators!” Then we see snakes and alligators. This is a good old movie-making trick, made possible by renting snake and alligator footage from your local reptile ranch and inter-cutting it with actors bright enough to shout “Look! Snakes and alligators!”


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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this "just wanna stay here forever" lofi playlist.



11/21/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #323: Beginning & Ending with Ice 35

    


The Notebooking Daily 2020 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.

#323
Beginning & Ending with Ice 35


F
or today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which begins with one image, scenario, line of dialog or place and ends with another, and an optional additional requirement.


Begin With: Ice being poured/dispensed into a cup.

End WithHail plinking off a car/cars.

Extra Credit RequirementsInclude, somewhere in the first two paragraphs/stanzas, the phrase "Local news"; and somewhere in your piece include the words: "Yelled" "Clover" "Murdered" "Trial" and "Quail".

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If you'd like some unobtrusive background music try this Philanthrope lofi album "Cabin in the Woods".

11/20/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #322: 3x5x7 Wordbank Sprints 43

      


The Notebooking Daily 2020 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.
#322
3x5x7 Wordbank Sprints 43
For today's writing exercise complete the following steps. The wordbank exercise has changed so be sure to take a peek at the new 'rules'. I recommend using the timer on your phone or computer and setting it for 1 minute. Each time you write a sentence, quickly reset the timer. If it goes off before you're finished with the sentence—wrap it up ASAP!

In order to complete the large number of sentences demanded of this exercise it is imperative that you write fast. Don't think too much at all until you've reached the final exercise. The process of this quick production is to thrust past second guesses or other stumbling blocks that sometimes impede your writing. You're aiming to write 23 sentences in at most 20 minutes so you have ten minutes to organize and write that actual piece, so you're going to be writing more than a sentence a minute.

WRITE FAST, DON'T OVERTHINK


  1. Pick one word from each of three groups and write a sentence that includes all of the words, feel free to change tense, pluralize, gerund etc. Repeat the process five (5) times using different combinations. No dawdling! 
  2. Now write three (3) sentences that are six (6) words or fewer in length that use any two (2) words from the wordbanks.
  3. Now write three (3) sentences that use four (4) or more of the words.
  4. Now write five (5) sentences which begin with one (1) of the words and contain a second one (1) of the words.
  5. Now write five (5) sentences which are fewer than ten (10) words in length and conclude with one (1) of the words from the wordbanks. Remember, keep up the pace! Don't overthink!
  6. Now rephrase two (2) of your sentences from exercise #1 in either a more efficient or more descriptive manner.
  7. Now write a piece of fiction or poetry that uses at least three (3) of the sentences you've written throughout this process of exercises. Try to use as many of the (good) sentences as you can, or parts of the sentences if the whole thing doesn't fit or works better altered.
Word Bank 1:
  • Briar
  • Sandy
  • Wren
  • Polished
  • Smashed
Wordbank 2:
  • Olive
  • Dew
  • Role
  • Knife
  • Mollified
Wordbank 3:
  • Squelched
  • Relish
  • Ghastly
  • Yanked
  • Falcon

Bonus writing exercise: Include the word "Last" in your title or opening sentence, and in the piece you must include candy, somehow that doesn't involve it being eaten.

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Want some unobtrusive background writing music? Try this "Morning Coding in Chicago" lofi mix. 

11/19/20

Spy in the Slushpile #4: The Collidescope

   

Spy in the Slushpile #4 The Collidescope

Psssst! Over here! 
Notebooking Daily snuck agents into the offices of your favorite literary magazines to bring you—the potential submitter—the sweet low down, the inside track, the full two scoops of raisins. Everything you need to know to make as successful of a submission as possible will be here, but remember that the number one rule to putting your best foot forward is to take the time to read the journal you're submitting to and FOLLOW THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES. This is vital to show the editors that you respect their time and effort, and because some journals will reject submissions that don't extend the simple courtesy of following guidelines, without even reading it—and no one wants that.

Today we check in with our spy who was sent to the offices of the literary magazine The Collidescope.


Our spy's dossier: 
The Collidescope is an online literary journal. They feature 'experimental' poetry, prose, and visual art from new, emerging, and veteran writers. They read no fee submissions via email all year round.


Our agent poached the following helpful bits of information from various places on their website: 
The Collidescope aims to publish writing that is subversive in nature, that is art for art’s sake. There is a difference between a writer simply telling a story (or telling a story simply) and creating a work of art. We love to see the mental fireworks of a writer wrestling with their imagination, with language itself. All one has to do is look at what Joyce accomplished. Ulysses alone broke every rule and then some. A century later, many writers are still afraid to step outside of the rules. Luckily, there are a kaleidoscope of other writers who have fearlessly gone wherever language has led them and have produced astounding works, such as Jorge Luis Borges, Angela Carter, David Foster Wallace, Wendy Walker, Salman Rushdie, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Clarice Lispector, Vladimir Nabokov, etc. Such is the kind of writing we live to read. We gravitate mostly toward magical realism and the surreal/slipstream. This is not the place for slice of life fiction, unless your language is experimental.



--

Disguised as a window washer with a mask of my face, for some reason, our spy was able to get close to The Collidescope editor George Salis and secure the answers to their assigned six questions. The transcript follows.


1) I always recommend that potential submitters read their most recent dozen or two pieces of a journal that publishes irregularly such as The Collidescope before submitting there (at least the genre which they're submitting), but if you could recommend, say three or so pieces (or however many) that you feel especially exemplify for one reason or another, what you're looking for, or that you are especially proud to have published and think everyone, whether they plan on submitting or not, should read? 
TL;DR Pieces that exemplify the journal. 

Perhaps it’s partly immoral to have favorites among my published children, but like parents in denial, I do have favorites.


“Unmeasured Ages” by Will Cordeiro was one of the most linguistically-stimulating pieces to grace my inbox, with a prose that evokes Cormac McCarthy at his best and most eldritch, as well as echoes of Don DeLillo. Cordeiro told me that the story was something of a fluke for him. I can only hope, for the sake of fiction, that more of these flukes occur.


Most recently, I published “Trackless” by Rosalind Goldsmith. While the vocabulary and imagery aren’t as wild as “Unmeasured Ages”, the story excels in its meditative and strange quality via a fresh sentence structure and somewhat incantatory repetitions. This reminded me of Joseph McElroy, one of America’s greatest yet most unsung writers.


For the most part, these two pieces have an emphasis on language over plot. When considering submissions, plot is something I look for secondly if at all. I’m willing to forgo plot altogether for a feast of linguistic treats because style is substance; don’t believe what the mainstream literary community says.


2) Is there any genre, topic, theme or stylistic that you are surprised you don't see more of, or that you would like to see more of? For instance prose poems, stories about organized sports (or one in particular), non-conventional family narratives, non-standard typography, alternate history, high sci-fi, hybrid pieces utilizing white space... 
TL;DR I wouldn't kick these submissions out of bed for eating crackers. (updateable, if the interview results in an unwanted flux of submissions)

Most of what clogs my inbox consists of stories written in the first person, often with a meteorological report at the beginning, or some assurance that the sky is still there, and then comes the mechanical dialogue or solipsistic musings that are the furthest thing from stimulating. Written in brief, safe sentences that are almost completely anonymous. No voice, no style, no risks.

I want to see more work from writers who are willing to subvert expectations, eviscerate clichés, and write with the freedom of artistic vision, not the manacles of some m(ass) audience in mind.

3) Hard sells—and not just the standard (though very important) "don't send hateful, misogynist, racist etc" work. Is there a plot, trope, character, motif, idiom or even phrase you would like people to think twice about before using? One that you see a ton, or that stick out when you're reading, in a negative way for whatever reason.
TL;DR Hard sells.

The only thing a writer should be thinking twice or thrice about is whether the phrase they’ve just written has been heard before, heard ad nauseum. Martin Amis said that writing is a war against clichés and, in many ways and instances, the war is being lost. Not all hands or trees need to be gnarled. Not all blood needs to boil or curdle. Not all tears need to stream down faces. Not all noses need to be aquiline. Synonyms for these clichés are often not enough. One needs to exhume etymology, masticate the bones of those dead words and phrases and expectorate vein-cutting diamonds and o-faced opals.  
I want to be shocked into life. So no, never think twice about things that might shock or offend. If it’s essential to the vision, then it must remain. Many readers these days confuse racist and misogynistic characters with the author. This is the downfall of literature. It’s not the author’s job to scold or instruct these characters, such people exist within the real world. There’s a difference between a story portraying a nasty character and a story that celebrates the nastiness. As long as it’s not celebratory, then yes, give me your misogynists, your misandrists, your huddled asses, the wretched refuse of your skeevy shore.


4) If you could pick 2-3 pieces of writing that you just love that are already out in the world and somehow have the ability to have discovered it in your slushpile, itching for you to publish them, what would they be? 
TL;DR Wish I could've published that!

I can’t exactly publish books online so I’ll go with short stories:
“Oono” by Patricia Eakins
“The Cleverness of Elsie” by Wendy Walker
“A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings” by Gabriel García Márquez
I realize that’s more than 2 or 3 but if readers can track these stories down, they might thank me for it. Oh, and just about anything by Borges.

5) To your tastes, how would you describe the sort of "experimental" writing you seek? The idea of categorizing experimental or avant-garde writing is very slippery, as it means different things to different people, and it can even change over time from the same person's perspective. So in this moment, allowing that tomorrow you may feel differently and we won't hold you to it, what are you looking for in experimental writing? Is there a 'soft line' where it begins to lose meaning or goes too far (say, where you think the author/artist's intentions are subverted or hurt by the radical level of experimentation—of course allowing exceptions, we're not issuing challenges here) 
TL;DR The journal's place on the spectrum of 'experimental'.
You can hold me to this, push my cheek against it: I’m looking for writing that is conscious of language, thus it produces unheard words and phrases. The term “experimental writing” sounds extremely humorless, but humor enhances a given reading experience and can even heighten tragedy. So yes, give me some scatology and clever wordplay while you’re at it too.

6) If you could speak directly to a potential submitter as a voice in their head, like their 'submission conscience', neither angel nor devil but bookish nerd that wants the person to have the best chance with their submission as possible, what would you want them to be sure to do or consider when submitting? 
TL;DR Please consider this when submitting.
It seems most submissions come from people who don’t read the submission guidelines, let alone read the description of The Collidescope’s aesthetic, let alone click through the site. If a potential submitter has made it this far into the interview, then I suspect they aren’t that careless type. Compared to some other journals, we don’t ask for much beyond standard formatting. 

My bookish nerd on the potential submitter’s shoulder does have horns, and his whisper is a wail: Don’t submit slice of life fiction or personal essays to The Collidescope or I will slice your life!


(pushing his luck, our spy was able to get George to answer two extra questions before the inevitable trapdoor opened beneath his feet, returning him via slide to the Notebooking Daily headquarters)

7) What do you think differentiates prose poetry from flash fiction (or micro fiction), with the caveat that of course there will be exceptions to all 'rules' in writing, so it's something of a soft 'line' by nature.

I’ve published a brief chapter from my debut novel as ‘poetry’ once (it was reprinted so technically twice), which suggests there is little to no difference between the two. I expect most prose to be, on some level, poetic, so the taxonomy is negligible, I think, and could even be distracting at times. Perhaps this is why I don’t advertise on the site what’s ‘poetry’ and what’s ‘fiction’, aside from a tag on the very bottom of the page. Only the words matter.

8) What other journals do you really enjoy reading, or do you feel especially akin to?

I prefer books over journals, particularly because the novel is my favorite artform, maximalist encyclopedic novels of grand scope, such as Infinite Jest and Underworld and Darconville’s Cat and Midnight’s Children. However, small presses are as important as journals, so I’d like to mention Tough Poets Press, which is doing amazing work resurrecting literature that has been wrongly neglected by the so-called literary community. Similarly, corona/samizdat is starting to bring back the work of Chandler Brossard, alongside modern writers (disclosure: this includes the overseas edition of my debut novel). And of course there’s the once-great Dalkey Archive, a press that is beyond its golden years but is still doing admirable work. These publishers bring out literature that I would be delighted to have within The Collidescope. Read them, support them, keep literature alive, and be a part of the conversation in whatever capacity you can.

Thank you, Zebulon, for inviting me to do this interview. Keep up the great work, my friend.
--

George was a gracious host, so perhaps the subterfuge was unnecessary of our spy, but not every journal will be quite so accommodating—because of that we'll keep reporting back from the various assignments of our Spy in the Slushpile.

2020 Writing Exercise Series #321: Title Mania Plus 50

   


The Notebooking Daily 2020 Writing Series is here! These are 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.

#321
Title Mania Plus 50

For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which uses one of the following as its title. Before you write, first read the poem from which the titles are selected. For a bonus challenge use the additional exercise of five random constraints.

Today's titles come from the amazing poem "Poor Pigeon, Poor Dove" by K.A. Nielsen recently published at The Collidescope. Go read it first!


Titles:
  1. Down Our Beers
  2. Moral, or—Trying
  3. Where Feathers are Missing
  4. Help Me Kill Something
  5. With No Knife
  6. Happy Dumb Bright

Bonus Exercise: Three Things
(Your piece must also include the following three 'things')
  1. A Baseball Stadium
  2. A Glacier
  3. Lime Jell-O
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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this "Road to the Dream" lofi mix by our buddy Dreamy.

11/18/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #320: Three Things Together 54

         


The Notebooking Daily 2020 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.

#320
Three Things Together 54

F
or today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which contains the following three things, Nice and simple.
  1. The Equator
  2. A Sandbox
  3. Frozen Orange Juice
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Bonus 'Five Words': Include these five words in your piece: Frolic, Droll, Wartime, Etched, Newt.

If you'd like some background music to write to, try this "Touch of Katana" lofi playlist from our lofi buddy Dreamy.

2020 Writing Exercise Series #319: Beginning & Ending with Music 34

   


The Notebooking Daily 2020 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.

#319
Beginning & Ending with Music 34


F
or today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which begins with one image, scenario, line of dialog or place and ends with another, and an optional additional requirement.


Begin WithSomeone learning to play piano.

End WithSomeone turning up the volume of a radio.

Extra Credit RequirementsInclude, somewhere in the first two paragraphs/stanzas, the phrase "Like a Chicken Pot Pie"; and somewhere in your piece include the words: "Barn" "Drag" "Follicle" "Flex" and "Homework".

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If you'd like some unobtrusive background music try this "1 A.M Study Session" lofi playlist from our friends at Chilled Cow.



11/17/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #318: Three Things Together 53

         


The Notebooking Daily 2020 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.

#318
Three Things Together 53

F
or today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which contains the following three things, Nice and simple.
  1. A Fire Escape
  2. A Trombone
  3. A Tealight Candle
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Bonus 'Five Words': Include these five words in your piece: Halved, Dreary, Lush, Pooled, Dwelling.

If you'd like some background music to write to, try this Destiny and Dead People Tea - Critical Role LoFi.

11/15/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #317: Six Word Shootout 35

      


The Notebooking Daily 2020 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.

#317
Six Word Shootout 35

For today's writing exercise write a piece that includes the following six words. While it perfectly sets you up for a sestina, and while I am a sucker for homonyms, feel free to write whatever you'd like (but ya know, maybe give that sestina a shot!). Also feel free to make slight alterations to the required words if you want to avoid that eye-pokey repetition you can find in sestinas sometimes.

Required Words: 

1) Established
2) Truthful
3) Played
4) Haunt
5) Served
6) Gut

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Bonus Exercise: Include the following three things: A Salmon, The Lion King and Shakespeare (to Hamlet, or not to Hamlet, that is the question here).
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If you'd like some background music to write to, try The Mandalorian Theme - Lofi HipHop Mix.

11/14/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #316: Title Mania Plus 49

   


The Notebooking Daily 2020 Writing Series is here! These are 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.
#316
Title Mania Plus 49

For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which uses one of the following as its title. Before you write, first read the poem from which the titles are selected. For a bonus challenge use the additional exercise of five random constraints.

Today's titles come from the amazing poem "Pompeii" by Michelle Bitting. Go read it!

Titles:
  1. The Worst Catastrophes
  2. Rust to the Wind
  3. Watching a Kingfisher Dance
  4. Snaking
  5. Preserved by Ash and Lack of Air
  6. Face Melting

Bonus Exercise: Three Things
(Your piece must also include the following three 'things')
  1. A Volcano
  2. Yellow Squash (gourd)
  3. Milk
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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this "we got history" lofi mix.

11/13/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #315: Three Things Together 52

        


The Notebooking Daily 2020 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.

#315
Three Things Together 52

F
or today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which contains the following three things, Nice and simple.
  1. A Tire Swing
  2. A Flamethrower
  3. The Moon
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Bonus 'Five Words': Include these five words in your piece: Hurling, Hurtled, Hercules, Splashed, Quiver.

If you'd like some background music to write to, try this folk album "The sacred Flute by Jay Vincent".

11/12/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #314: Beginning & Ending with Cars 33

  


The Notebooking Daily 2020 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.

#314
Beginning & Ending with Cars 33


F
or today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which begins with one image, scenario, line of dialog or place and ends with another, and an optional additional requirement.


Begin With: Witnessing a T-Bone car accident.

End WithA child 'racing' two toy cars.

Extra Credit RequirementsInclude, somewhere in the first two paragraphs/stanzas, the phrase "smoother than expected"; and somewhere in your piece include the words: "Gun" "Whopper" "Bluer" "Vet" and "Stapled".

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If you'd like some unobtrusive background music try this "Autumn Mix '20" lofi playlist from our friends at The Jazz Hop Cafe.

11/11/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #313: 3x5x7 Wordbank Sprints 42

     


The Notebooking Daily 2020 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.
#313
3x5x7 Wordbank Sprints 42
For today's writing exercise complete the following steps. The wordbank exercise has changed so be sure to take a peek at the new 'rules'. I recommend using the timer on your phone or computer and setting it for 1 minute. Each time you write a sentence, quickly reset the timer. If it goes off before you're finished with the sentence—wrap it up ASAP!

In order to complete the large number of sentences demanded of this exercise it is imperative that you write fast. Don't think too much at all until you've reached the final exercise. The process of this quick production is to thrust past second guesses or other stumbling blocks that sometimes impede your writing. You're aiming to write 23 sentences in at most 20 minutes so you have ten minutes to organize and write that actual piece, so you're going to be writing more than a sentence a minute.

WRITE FAST, DON'T OVERTHINK


  1. Pick one word from each of three groups and write a sentence that includes all of the words, feel free to change tense, pluralize, gerund etc. Repeat the process five (5) times using different combinations. No dawdling! 
  2. Now write three (3) sentences that are six (6) words or fewer in length that use any two (2) words from the wordbanks.
  3. Now write three (3) sentences that use four (4) or more of the words.
  4. Now write five (5) sentences which begin with one (1) of the words and contain a second one (1) of the words.
  5. Now write five (5) sentences which are fewer than ten (10) words in length and conclude with one (1) of the words from the wordbanks. Remember, keep up the pace! Don't overthink!
  6. Now rephrase two (2) of your sentences from exercise #1 in either a more efficient or more descriptive manner.
  7. Now write a piece of fiction or poetry that uses at least three (3) of the sentences you've written throughout this process of exercises. Try to use as many of the (good) sentences as you can, or parts of the sentences if the whole thing doesn't fit or works better altered.
Word Bank 1:
  • Bellows
  • Jeans
  • Dial
  • Kleptocracy
  • Filet
Wordbank 2:
  • Services
  • Navy
  • Rouge
  • Elongated
  • Foppish

Wordbank 3
:
  • Corn
  • Stalled
  • Trolley
  • Mauve
  • Pigeon

Bonus writing exercise: Include the word "Before" in your title or opening sentence, and in the piece you must include a tree falling.

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Want some unobtrusive background writing music? Try this "I'm not my past" lofi mix. 



11/10/20

2020 Writing Exercise Series #312: Six Word Shootout 34

     


The Notebooking Daily 2020 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.

#312
Six Word Shootout 34

For today's writing exercise write a piece that includes the following six words. While it perfectly sets you up for a sestina, and while I am a sucker for homonyms(—NOT TODAY!), feel free to write whatever you'd like (but ya know, maybe give that sestina a shot!). Also feel free to make slight alterations to the required words if you want to avoid that eye-pokey repetition you can find in sestinas sometimes.

Required Words: 

1) Refine
2) Plot
3) Sign
4) Stop
5) Circle
6) Grand

-
Bonus Exercise: Include the following three things: A Gourd, A Powerline and Sap.
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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this keyword-laden titled "old songs but it's lofi remixes -vintage, retro, jazzhop, lounge music" lofi mix.