Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Writing for Pleasure 2

Here is a short list of principles or processes which we can use to help us to write for pleasure:

Collecting, investigating, imitating, changing (or inventing), distributing.

(One important aspect of this list is that we should think of it as interconnected: each process feeds into another. For example (and I'll return to this) 'distributing' is as important as any other process on the list because how people react when something is 'distributed' feeds back into what and how we write. It's how we put 'audience' into our writing. I mention this interconnectedness because it's very easy to pull one of these elements out and just focus on it, hoping that it'll do the trick.)

By the way, this is not just about 'creative writing' and it's not just about 'continuous prose'.  It's about all kinds of writing. More on that later. 

'Out there', every day, there are millions of examples of 'language-use' - spoken and written. We can think of it as a resource, which we can use to pick and mix, or 'scavenge' for what we want from it. This is what I mean by collecting

The moment we have collected a 'specimen' of language-use - it can be anything from a single word, to a whole book; anything from a line for a  song, a comment that someone made to a whole speech or a play - we can investigate it. We can look at it and ask it questions about why it is the way it is, how it works, why we are interested in it, why we are/are not moved by it and so on.

Any piece of language-use can be imitated, copied, repeated. So long as it's not a burden, this has the advantage of putting that sequence of words into our minds and bodies, with all its rhythms and strategies. 

Changing or inventing:
Any piece of language-use that we are imitating, can be played about with, tinkered with. The more we do this, the more confident we become with writing. There is, if you like, a scale of kinds of change: at one end, there are tiny changes, at the other there are huge changes, some so big that it's almost impossible to see what is being imitated. At this end of the scale the original text is really a 'trigger' which leads to big inventions.

Any piece of writing can be seen as a piece of language-use that can be distributed - that is shared through the means of using digital media (blogs (e.g. quadblogging), school websites, bulletins, fan fiction etc); 'old' media - booklets, posters, letters, magazines, ; performances - to one other person, a group, a class, a whole school, a parents' evening, a local community event, a video, a powerpoint show and so on. 

In the next blogs, I'll go through each of these processes in turn with ideas on how to do these, bearing in mind (again) that the list is intended to be interconnected so that each process  can help the others.