If you happen to live in the Northern Hemisphere, then June is announced with the closing of school doors, the splashing of pool water, and the silencing of the computer keyboard.
Our bodies? Outside.
Our minds? Stuck somewhere in between pages of pool-side books and margarita-filled glasses.
Our writing? On the backburner, waiting to spring to life--maybe sometime in early September.
So why is this the time of year to push our minds to think and write outside of the box?
Because it is perhaps the only way to keep our brains from falling into the hot and humid abyss.
Here are your writing tools for the summer:
1. A good book (I suggest Kate Hopper's Use Your Words)
2. A new pen and notebook
3. The following "Write Outside the Box" exercises:
Don't Get Boxed In - give your mind time to process information and think about it. Let it sink in. Roll it around on your tongue. Let your imagination mold it and shape it into new forms. Most importantly, use your own foundation of knowledge and experiences to digest it. Your mind may find new connections and new meaning in the information, which will help you push forth an entirely new and unique idea.
Let Creativity Spring Forth - turn to different creative ventures (e.g., using a notebook instead of the computer, begin your writing with crayola drawings, try on a genre you normally don't write, cast away assumptions by taking on a viewpoint from a different character, makes lists, lots and lots of lists).
Destroy Hidden Assumptions - assumptions are the walls of your box, so break them down. Make a list of your personal assumptions. You can find an example of my own list on my blog, Zook Book Nook. Think about your assumptions and their origins. Tackle and break them down by (1) asking people to expand on what they are saying and then listening to them closely, without forming an idea or an opinion; (2) putting yourself in other people's shoes and thinking about how seeing things from those different perspectives changes everything; (3) encompassing a wider, more diverse range of voices (society, culture, religion, organization, language, time period, location, etc) in your thinking and writing.
Further Exercises for the Writer-Mama
These exercises are ones that I can pick from on a daily basis to give my brain a kick in the neurons. They help me remind myself to keep my writing original, innovative, and creative. I've gathered many of these exercises from other writers and thinkers I know or have read about. A special thanks to them!