The Free-Lance Muse and Other Writing Exercises
I’ve already suggested you aspiring poets secure a copy of The Practice of Poetry because it’s full of wonderful creative writing exercises that will stir your inner wordsmith.
These writing exercises are designed as much for generating creativity as they are for helping writers craft poetry.
One of the pillars of creative writing is the exploration of different styles and genres. Die-hard poets should take a stab at fiction and short story writers should dabble in a little bit of poetry. Experimenting with different forms is fun and it will make your writing sparkle even more.
Today, I thought I’d choose an exercise from the book and share it with you.
Hopefully the authors, editors, and publishers don’t mind. Since I’m rallying sales for them, I doubt they will, so without further ado, I bring you “The Free-Lance Muse,” a creative writing exercise by Ann Lauterbach.
Imagine you are a free-lance muse, looking for work. In recent years you have had to supplement your life with various odd jobs — inspiring an ad executive at Nissan in Japan, writing political manifestos for East German dissidents, and typing numerous grant proposals. You’re tired and sad, and want a real poet. Write a job description for the poet you want to inspire.
Now, let me discuss why this exercise lends itself equally to poets, fiction writers, and copywriters. In fact, let me show you. I will tackle this exercise thrice for all the world to see:
Oh weary poet
I need you once more.
These writings have made me
A capitalist whore.
The muse scrawled her ad in haste and sent it off to the printer. Those damn poets! Cheating on her with that digital network of nothingness they call the blogosphere. How dare they abandon her and leave her to sling her tweets at auto manufacturers and political wannabes? A muse typing! Whoever heard of such nonsense?
Feed the freelancer
ten cents a word
Putting the Creative into Writing Exercises
Now, I realize I didn’t totally adhere to the exercise. What makes writing exercises like these fun is letting them trigger your creativity. In another time and place, I might follow the guidelines more closely but I wanted to show how flexible writing exercises can be if you approach them with an open mind.
The interesting aspect of this exercise is that it pulls us into advertising, something all writers must become familiar with in order to get their work to a reading public. Of this exercise, Ann Lauterbach said that it allowed students “to begin to think about and examine what the role of the poet (and of poetry) might be in a consumer-driven economy.”
Care to give it a shot? Take any twist you like on this writing exercise and let’s see what you’ve got. In the comments. Virtual drinks are on me. Have a chipper weekend. Cheerio!
If you have any writing exercises to share, feel free to post them in the comments.
Are you looking for more writing exercises? Pick up a copy of 101 Creative Writing Exercises, available in paperback and ebook.