Weekly Writing Exercise: Random Words

Weekly Writing Exercise: Random Words

From my book: Writing through the Fog


Random Words

Grab a book from the shelf, one from a favorite author whose descriptions and word choices you adore, and flip through it.  Jot down any words you see that grab you: linger, hollow, lamppost, spitfire, shower….  Then, create something using those words.  Allowing random words to take you where they will removes some of the anxiety inherent in coming up with original ideas.  It gives you a place to start and keeps you from staring at a blank page for hours.  And, for many people who tend toward confessional writing, drawing from their own experiences and emotions, there’s a pressure to make everything just right, to perfectly translate their life so that readers can experience the same sensations, the same feelings they did.  There’s no such expectation when you let the words lead you, rather than trying to corral the words.  And, you’ve already got some amazing vocabulary to work with.

I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it until it begins to shine.

~ Emily Dickinson

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