This is a leisurely Christmas writing exercise today – the prompt is to read more, the exercise to appreciate the words.
If you enjoy poetry as I do, consider putting together a little anthology of poems you like, by other writers. Imagine this as a pamphlet (or chapbook if you’re in America or Ireland, same thing). Go for 24 pages of beautiful poetry that you return to time and again.
On my shelves I have dozens of books I go back to, each littered with bookmarks and Post-it notes, and I hit on this idea to keep the best of the work I enjoy all in one place. The process of compiling the anthology was very inspiring (and is one of those projects I can keep adding to).
At this point, I will say if you’re not a fan of poetry, you can do this with stories, novels, memoir, essays etc, just choose brief (and manageable) paragraphs to put into your anthology.
This is a physical thing. If you have access to a computer with a printer you can make a pretty convincing little book (this is for your eyes only, so don’t worry about infringing copyright!).
But it works best if you re-type the words rather than doing a cut and paste job.
Second best approach is photocopying the poems you like and sticking them into a scrapbook/notebook.
But here’s my favourite: handwrite your choice of poems (or other words) into a beautiful notebook you’re going to keep for this very purpose.
In copying down the words one by one you will learn so much about the process of writing and the structure of the language the writers have chosen.
Then it is your turn to write, prompted by something in your personal anthology. You can go back to it whenever you need some extra inspiration. As ever, don’t copy but try to make something new from the ideas that come to mind this way.
And that should keep you busy over the holiday…
Happy Christmas to you and yours – and keep writing!
This is the 76th new creative writing prompt in a series which began in March 2020 as a Lockdown project to kick-start new writing: drama, short stories, flash fiction, poetry, memoir, creative non-fiction, whatever. Originally, I created 42 daily prompts and exercises, with a nod to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Now I post them weekly every Wednesday at 5pm (Dublin time). It all began here.