Unlock the Muse – August 22, 2018

I’ve been doing a lot of back to school shopping. If you’re not a parent, or you’re beyond the school age season, all those stacks of crayons and spiral notebooks might be just another center aisle display to maneuver around. But, parenting aside, if you’re a writer like me who loves office supplies, back to school sales can be exciting. I did, in fact, find myself a little treasure along the way – a spiral notebook with a pink cover and the words “create your own magic” scrawled across it in silver letters. I can’t wait to fill it with magical words!

To help inspire some magical words of your own, here is your writing prompt for this week:

Start with: ‘On the edge of the bridge…’

There is the potential for a lot of symbolism in that opening phrase. Bridges connect things – places, people, thoughts, worlds. Edges denote boundaries. What waits on the other side? Whether your bridge is literal or symbolic, go find the magic that lingers at the edge of it.

Sitting down in front of a blank page to write is often overwhelming. This is true whether you’ve just begun a project, or you’ve been working on it for months. That act of beginning each day is hard. You find yourself thinking about how terrible the draft is so far. Or you remember you needed to make a dentist appointment. Or you suddenly fear that the word well has run dry and you have nothing left to say. In her book, Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott mentions her use of a one-inch picture frame, meant to narrow her focus. She says:

It reminds me that all I have to do is write down as much as I can see through a one-inch picture frame. This is all I have to bite off for the time being. All I am going to do right now, for example, is write that one paragraph that sets the story in my hometown, in the fifties, when the trains were still running. … Or all I am going to do is describe the main character the very first time we meet her, when she first walks out the door and onto the porch.

So, narrow your focus, keep it small and give yourself short assignments. Bit by bit, the words will pile up. And before you know it, an entire draft will be written.

I’ll leave you with this thought from one of my favorite writers:


Happy magical writing!

Please consider sharing a link to your response to the writing exercise. Got a question? Just ask!

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