Friday, February 26, 2010

Heat #12: Freestyle Keying

Alicia says that voice begins with worldview and ends with word choice. Today's exercise gives you a chance to reflect on your worldview in a simple, black-and-white manner.

Use a kitchen timer so that you don't dawdle over this one. It can be very tempting to dwell and ponder and explore trains of thought, but this is just an exercise. The end result should be a bit of enhanced clarity of your personal worldview.

Take a pad of paper and draw a vertical line down the middle of the page. On the top of one column, write "Yes." On top of the other column, write "No."

The Yes column will be for things that make your creativity hum in a positively energized way. These are things that wake you up. Things that excite your curiosity. Things guaranteed to make you stop and look twice. They might not always be pretty or charming or nice. But they will always call out to you, and you will always be drawn to them.

The No column is for things that raise your hackles. If you want to write a letter to the editor about it, it goes here. If you want to slap your Congressperson over it, it goes here. If you want to stop total strangers in public and let them know why they shouldn't do it, it goes here.

Set your timer for ten or fifteen minutes or so. Write quickly. Don't stop to think about whether anyone will approve of your choices. Nobody but you ever needs to see this list. This is personal self-exploration, for your eyes only.

List items in the Yes column until you can't think of any more, then switch to the No column. When you get stuck in the No column, switch back to Yes.

Don't worry about why a particular item makes the list. It can be irrational -- we all have pet peeves, after all. It can be mundane -- there's a reason we all cringe to see someone pick their noses and wipe it on their shirts, right? But the underlying reasons or values aren't important. All you really want is to write a list of things that make you buzz with emotion.

This list represents part of your worldview, the part that taps into your emotions and creativity. It's worth a few minutes to get all those things down where you can see them together, isn't it? Leave a comment about this exercise to be entered into the drawing for the Closing Ceremonies!


Taylor Mathews said...

While writing the No column, the muscles in my back started to tense up. Yikes. :-)

Riley Murphy said...

With my NO column? I'm sensing a theme and crapatola! It involves the dreaded laundry motif. :D


Jami Gold said...

Lots of my 'no's fall into the Too Stupid To Live category. Is it wrong to wish for a sterilizing ray gun some days? :)

Jami G.

Dave Shaw said...

Jami, you can have your ray gun if I get my car-mounted photon torpedoes. ;-)

Holly Rutchik said...

What are others thoughts on the no being waaaaayyy longer than the yes?
I don't think this is good for my writing....or life, really.
Hmmm ;)

Sylvia said...

I was going to do this after my walk. In fact, I thought that the walk would most definitely go into the Yes column, so it made sense to do it first and then do this exercise.

I returned to the house soaking wet. I lost my shoes in the surf and I stepped on a sea urchin.

At the moment, my "no" column would consist of "THE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING IN IT" and the "yes" column would be empty.

I shall try again tomorrow.

Edittorrent said...

It can be easier to feel passionate about the NO column, but the YES stuff is probably going to factor in more with your writing world.

I've always wanted to get a paintball gun to keep in my car. Just cuz, you know, some drivers would benefit from a splat or two. Might shake them out of their comas.

preparing for Closing Ceremonies!