Confession time. I hate the blank page. As a writer, this poses a bit of a problem. Somewhere along the line I picked up the idea that I might write “the wrong thing”. That somehow, my inferior first few words would sully the pristine white of my page past the point of recognition and basically the world would end. Logically I know that a few terribly chosen adjectives will not end life as we know it, but somewhere in the back of my writer’s brain I believe if the words are awful enough…they just might.
Enter CLEAR OUT THE STATIC IN YOUR ATTIC: A Writer’s Guide For Turning Artifacts Into Art (Write Bloody Publishing).
If the act of calling yourself “a writer” somehow magically meant that every word you typed was always the exact right word in the exact right place, all of your stories were miraculously resolved in the most fulfilling ways, every essay you produced made a very important observation in a very intuitive and breathtaking way, and each poem reverberated with the wisdom and the beauty of every wise and beautiful thing that’s ever existed, well, what fun would it be to call yourself that? Like King Midas, I think you’d soon discover that there’s a downside to having all you touch turn to gold.
That’s because truly great writing is born out of the struggle of producing it.
Author’s Rebecca Bridge and Isla McKetta have endeavored to create a collection of over forty different writing exercises designed to “help you develop a relationship with your inner muse.” For me, this translated into simply, a place to start. I decided it wasn’t enough to merely read this book. I would need to try it for myself. And I have to say, the blank page became a little less threatening. Not that has cured every insecurity I hold dear, but it offered an entry point onto the page. It has challenged me as a writer. Forcing me to take my writing in new directions.
While some prompts in this collection are familiar, all were presented in an original way. Each prompt begins with a short narrative, by one of the authors, giving us the context for the prompt. Then comes the actual writing exercise, followed by an example. This may have been one of the strongest components to CLEAR OUT THE STATIC IN YOUR ATTIC. The examples are creative and inspiring. But I think, if I’m honest, my favorite part is the short section, that follows the example, entitled: Books to Explore. Each prompt comes with its own set of references. More examples of great writing in the style you’re currently trying out.
This resource works. It works for the writer, to give new direction, and new insight for new material. As a reader, I appreciate the references to new and exciting texts. Thank you to Write Bloody Publishing for helping me clear out the static in my attic.