To be quite frank, I really, really enjoyed listening and talking with Victoria Hanley. If I ever get a chance to attend another event with her, I’d do it in a heart beat. Even if it may not have seemed like I was paying attention, because I have a doodling issue, I was clinging to every word she said.
One of the other things she talked about that has really stuck with me, is a writing exercise. In the class she had us all write down our deepest secret. And then we shredded it. Then she asked us if we had told the complete truth, which to be honest, most of us hadn’t and for a variety of reasons. I know, my own reasoning being that I wanted to make it sound nicer than it was, because lets be honest, its a secret because its something I want to pretend isn’t real and if I had written out the whole truth, it would mean for that moment in time I would have to accept that reality and embrace it, even if grudgingly. And boy did I drag my feet with that first draft. But fear not! She made us write down our secret again and this time she said to write the whole truth and I did and as soon as I had placed the last period, I dashed to the shredder and disposed of that beastly thing.
But that wasn’t the end! Afterward she encouraged each of us to spend thirty days free-writing (one of my favorite writing exercises!). Whatever came to mind, our feelings, thoughts, anything, just write it all down on a piece of paper and then shred it. Write it completely and truthfully, because afterward it would be gone and no one else would need to ever see it. And though, the thought of throwing away something I had written, that might be good in a story later made me cringe, she said something to ease my mind. Because whatever we wrote down, if it was good, it would be even better when we rewrote it later.
And yesterday, I begin my first of thirty days of free-writing. Something which will probably be the only writing I will get done for at least the next two weeks as I continue to move into a new apartment and then fly off to the last frontier for my reunion. But it is an exercise I am already enjoying immensely.
What is your favorite writing exercise?