Thursday, 19 March 2009

Do it anyway!

A couple of years ago I did a very wicked thing in class. I asked the students to write the opening line of a novel or a short story (I think I said it could be based on some writing they had already done) and that they should try very hard, do the best they could and therefore write a wonderful opening sentence. I said they could have ten minutes to come up with something. I have never seen so many startled rabbits but they were a game lot and bent their wills to the page. I sat, feeling like the piggy-wiggy I was, and doodled away at a piece of stream of consciousness writing I had done previously. After five minutes of feeling the temperature in the room rising, I stopped them. Their relief was palpable.

To be honest, I can't remember any of the results or whether anyone even managed to write anything at all. Now, part 2 of that exercise, was to write any old sentence but get something approximately relevant on the paper and remember that it could always be changed or cut later. Result? A squillion times better. Moral? Great Expectations lead to Great Disasters. Great disappointments. Umm...Oh dear, do I mean expectations? Am I getting into some intertextual muddle there? Shouldn't I just say if you set your sights too high? or if your standards are too exacting? Oh bum, that wasn't very good was it? What I meant was...what did I mean? God, this is a terrible mess. I can't put all this in the blog. Perhaps I should have written about something else altogether? But what? I haven't got anything else worth mentioning. Err. I know, I'll just remind everyone that the deadline to get their best, most wonderful, pieces of writing to me for the Anthology is next Friday 27th March at 12 noon.
I'll write something tomorrow, when I'm a bit clearer in the head...

or maybe I'll just do it anyway, and then I have something, as opposed, to nothing.


  1. There are ten question marks in this piece! I couldn't resist counting them. And the moral is...??????????

  2. ...and the moral is, turn the inner demon's volume control down or off or you will get nothing done. Geddit??

  3. Excellent advice, Cathie. You can't edit what isn't written down. Often, in my panic to write Great Stuff I forget that.

    Thank you for pitching your blog in my pitch party today, by the way--it's generated loads of comments, for me and for many of the other bloggers who have taken part. I might have to do this again!