OK, hello. I wanted to kickstart my creativity and really start pursuing my dream of being writer. A published writer, because if a tree falls in a wood and no one heard it…
As a first and fun step toward that goal, I decided to literally google ‘free online creative writing courses’. I finally found one that seemed fully free and easy enough to do with limited time. Creativehyphenwritinghyphencoursedotcom [ http://creative-writing-course.thecraftywriter.com/ ] was the one I stumbled upon, and it is basically what it says on the tin. As a motivation to keep going, I thought I’d post the exercises here, rather than just record it in a bunch of word documents. So, without further ado, here are my first three exercises, from the first lesson.
This is the link to the first of 8 lessons, called ‘Releasing Your Creativity’:
Write down your first response to these words or phrases:
- Blue ball
- And that’s when the sadness came
1) Blue Ball – It’s beautiful. An oasis of life, in the midst of the black universe. A blue ball, going round and round and round, around that other yellow ball…till I decide to pop it.
2) And that’s when the sadness came – Till that moment, I hadn’t even tried to process everything. I was laughing with everyone, throwing the rice, congratulating the lucky bride and smiling widely at the broad shoulders of the groom whose chin I did not even reach. But when he finally turned around, and smiled at me for the first time that day, his first smile at me as a married man…I realised no ceremony would ever change the way I felt about my sister’s soul mate. And that’s when the sadness came.
3) Coffee – Can there be anything more essential to modern living? The smell is the smell of life itself. It seeps through my blood and my lungs into my soul, jogging it awake and pulling it, sometimes screaming, out of dreamland into the 21st century.
Exercise 2: In 50 words or less write down why you want to write then list three creative thoughts that you’ve had lately (each 10 words or less). These may be an image, a musing, a ‘truth’, a story, or so on. If you haven’t had any, take yourself for a walk and look around; what grabs your imagination? Browse through a newspaper or a magazine; do any stories or pictures catch your attention? Think back over your day; did anything funny, charming, shocking or unusual happen to you or someone you know?
I want to write because my brain is full of thoughts and feelings and imaginings that I can’t keep just to myself. So I can entertain other people the way I have been entertained by my favorite authors. And finally, so I can create something beautiful and eternal and hopefully, funny.
1) A walk in the woods can refresh your soul.
2) What if all fictional worlds are alternate universes?
3) Happiness is a cup of tea on a rainy day.
Exercise 3: Take one of the three creative thoughts you wrote down in Exercise 2, then list 20 separate words that communicate or describe that thought. Do not, at this stage, link the words into sentences. Once you have your 20 words use them in a poem of 16 lines or less. Then, take the same 20 words and work them into a short story of under 300 words. Which exercise came more easily? Which form has best communicated your creative thought?
I picked ‘A walk in the woods can refresh your soul.’
These are my 20 words:
A Walk in the Woods
The leaves on the trees are intensely green
But sometimes the sunlight interrupts their display
And colours the path with changing shades.
The water can’t keep still;
Brownly flows, loudly gurgles
Wafting up an earthy scent
Till I’m no longer alone with my self
I breathe fresh air, sent perhaps
By the quiet elves in blackberry bushes
Those woodland arbiters of peace.
The bark of a dog breaks the solitude,
It joyfully leaps into my sight
Its eyes sparkling with magic.
A Walk in the Woods
At first I thought the elves were trying to lure me to death with that earthy scent. The river was flowing below me, brown and loud and a cold, wet trap. The leaves of the woodland trees almost touched the water, sparkling greenly in the sunlight. So I left the paved way, wanting to see more. The colours were changing into golden sunset mode as I approached the river, irresistibly drawn to that gurgling. The quiet path faded away behind me. A breeze blew that fresh, scented air my way again, and I almost stumbled in my hurry to reach the river. What drew me there? Was it the mysterious joyfulness of that stream, in the sunlight, on that spot? Or was it those pesky elves after all, tired of their lonely play in the woods, seeking a new companion?
The peace was suddenly broken by a loud barking, and a dog emerged from the trees. It leapt towards me with a joyful bark. I slipped, I gasped, and a hand caught my waist, pulling me up. I wasn’t alone in the quest for the river; I wasn’t alone in my immense loneliness; and I’ve never been alone since.
It was some kind of magic, after all.
I enjoyed writing both the poetry and the short story. There was no clear winner in terms of preference or style. The short story came much easier, because I’m a verbose sort of person, but I think the poem (while nothing too special) answered the assignment much better and was more honest and true to what I had in mind with the initial ‘thought’.