Tag Archives: trick

Creative Constriction

24 Jul

Whether you’re writing poetry, a novel or a short story, one of the hardest parts of the writing process is channeling your thoughts into actual, concrete written material. In order to do that, here’s a trick you can use. It’s a little counter intuitive, but bear with me – the trick is to limit yourself. Impose a rule that you have to follow while you’re writing, like avoiding a subject or describing something without using visual descriptions.
Here’s an example. In the following poem, an existential-themed piece, I limited myself to rhyming only with the word ‘existential’. Limiting your options can force you to think out of the box and in original ways, and that’s always a good thing when you’re writing creatively. Here’s the poem-

All my life, in all my thoughts, just one thing burns essential
A question posed, unanswered still, am I consequential?
My mind can’t grasp the scale, perhaps that’s providential
Just one among billions, what is my real potential?

Each and every person believes they can be influential
If they only try to do their best they’ll realize their potential
But do I know if that is true, is thinking that prudential?
Maybe thinking that you matter is just hubris quintessential

So I think of this a lot, and my thoughts are existential
And I’d really wish to know if I’m inconsequential
It’s not that I am asking for a treatment preferential
But is it too much to ask just to think that I am special?

Let us try to break this down, in a subject that’s tangential
Being heard on the internet, where the info is torrential
On the web you’re just a node, just some numbers differential
No one cares what you say, your ID is confidential

Among all of the billions, who on earth are residential
I know perhaps a thousand, so I guess I’m nonessential
I don’t presume for a minute that I’ll be presidential
There are very few of those, and I don’t have the credential

So at last I do not know, whether I am special
And I know I’m not in charge, we are all deferential
But mattering’s not about power, or toward who you’re reverential
Your worth depends on you, if your belief is exponential

So that’s the poem. Now try it out yourself. Decide on a random imposition that you have to work with, and write an essay or short story with it – have fun, and

restraining ordered

restraining ordered (Photo credit: mcfcrandall)

good luck!

You’ll Never Be Perfect

5 May

“Because to procrastinate is easier than working.”

It’s true. You never will be be. But you can use the gold standard of perfection to better yourself, to push yourself forward. How? One word – procrastination. Let’s explain that. Procrastination is something we do in order to avoid working. It’s natural, but it can be pretty habit-forming and time-consuming. You might find yourself  with six spare hours, a quiet house, and a blank computer. You’ll think – ‘Perfect! All the peace and quiet I need to polish off the last three chapters of my thriller mystery novel!’. Six hours later, you’re still on Reddit. Or Facebook. Or whatever you do to waste time. Because to procrastinate is easier than working.

The subject of procrastination has been, as we say in the field, ‘run into the ground’. So we won’t go into too much detail about the subject. In fact, we’ll cut the procrastination and get right to the point – how to avoid it.

If you write a lot, or even a little, there’s probably several projects you’re working on, a few separate things you’re writing. So write them down. Make a little list of what you could be writing. For me, it goes something like this – a post for The Writer’s Corp, a Hebrew short story for a book, a chapter in another book, a post for my site, or an article for a newspaper. These are all things I need to write. So I make a list of them.

The secret to solving procrastination is to define your goals. Knowing exactly what you have to do is the first step to getting them done. So write down all the things you have to do, and start with the one that looks the most enjoyable to write. Try to do all the things on your list.

Now, the point is that you will not accomplish everything on your list. You might only do one or two of them. Don’t let that discourage you – remember, just a minute ago you were having trouble starting. The trick is to get going, to start writing – to start is the hard part. Aim higher than you can realistically do at once, and just knowing what you want to write can be an excellent way to get yourself writing.

At the end of the day, you may not have accomplished all your goals. Not every checkbox will have a check in it. But you’ll have made progress, and you’ll have beaten your procrastination.

When Nesher Ehrman succeeds in beating his procrastination, he also writes poems and short stories, which can be found at his site.

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