Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Making Lists

In the last chapter I discussed how most of us think linearly, how we tend to make lists. To-do lists. Grocery lists. Homework. For a moment I’m going to contradict the nonlinear processes of freewriting and clustering and focus on making lists. This is another approach to writing exercises. Use whatever technique works for you.

Just before our high school graduation, one of my friends made a list of things she wanted to accomplish in her lifetime. She included things like “go to Paris,” “ride a hot air balloon,” and “fall in love.” I’ve lost touch with her, so I don’t know how many of these she has accomplished so far—if any. Maybe you’ve written a similar list. If you know where it is, dust if off. If not, that’s all right. You’re going to write a new one.

For this writing exercise, start out with a list. Then freewrite or cluster or (use whatever method is most comfortable for you) about each item on the list. It might be easier to make a list for one topic but on another, it is easier to freewrite. Do whatever works for you. Begin a new page for each topic. Prescribe yourself a reasonable limit. For instance: set a timer for ten minutes; write until you’ve filled half a page; or write until you’ve listed twenty items. Choose one or more topics. Remember to start a new page for each.
· Things I want to accomplish in my lifetime
· I am a …
· My hobbies are …
· Things I’ve done that few others have done
· Things I would like to do
· Things I would never do
· I believe
· I love
· I hate
· I want

Feel free to come up with your own lists. Set your timer. Push yourself. Go deep. As always, have fun with it!

If you do come up with new items for to list, please share them by adding a comment. And let me know how you're doing!

“Creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found.”
~ James Russell Lowell

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