From Kate’s Writing Crate…
Songwriting without Boundaries: Lyric Writing Exercises for Finding Your Voice by Pat Pattison is set up as a two-month class. I’m three weeks in and I highly recommend it.
The first two weeks are timed writing exercises. Each day, one exercise lasts for 10 minutes, one for five minutes, and one for 90 seconds. In less than 17 minutes, you can meet your daily writing goal—a fantastic feeling—and it’s fun! It’s also easy to double up so you won’t fall behind when you have a busy day planned.
The point of the exercises is to put your five senses to work, along with body and motion, when writing about objects or characters. You can read other writers’ descriptions for inspiration before you write or you can read them after you write to see which senses were stronger for them.
The exercises seem easy. For example: describe an elevator (what writing), a sailor (who writing), six in the morning (when writing), a park bench in the city (where writing). It’s capturing all your senses in your answers that is hard. The pressure of a timer, especially one that ticks, helps squeeze words out.
If you have kids old enough to write, you can include them in this class. Look at Taylor Swift—songs she wrote in her early teens became hits. You never know. Plus it’s fast and fun!
Week 3 moves on to metaphors.
Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space.
–Orson Scott Card
After a discussion of different types of metaphors on pages 49-51, you start with Adjective-Noun Collisions. On Day 1, the adjectives and words are given to you in the ten 90-second exercises. (example: Lonely Moonlight) On Day 2, you are given the adjectives; you get to choose the nouns. (example: Boastful _____) Day 3 you are given the nouns and have to provide the adjectives. (example: ______ cottage)
The more you do these exercises, the more writing you can fit into the 90 seconds.
Even if you aren’t planning on writing songs, these exercises would be useful to complete when you are having a hard time starting your writing day. Three or four exercises will jump start your brain.
Writing is writing. Trying different genres gives you a new perspective—always a good thing for writers!