How to Trick Yourself into Writing

John Cage, lithograph in “Mushroom Book, Plate VIII” (1972)

Play the real/fake game (I’m inventing concurrent with this post). READY? Every time you write something (grocery list, email to colleague, memo, social media update, application), 1. Write the original.  2.Immediately produce a fun-house style replication of the email/memo/application, mirroring the shape and form, but full of unexpected twists. This subversion our of our quotidian action is necessary in establishing the habit of being a surprising and playful writer.  Plus there’s very little pressure (no accusing glare of white page) and it’s fun in a mad-libs sort of way. Also, forcing yourself to write when you aren’t in “writterly” mode can cut some of the “preciousness of our craft crap” (that I regularly fall into). Try it. Next time you have to write something for your “real” job, make a “fake” copy and remember, though the much of daily life exists in shallow gray, all the depths and brightness of being are only a writing exercise away.  -Katie

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