I bounced, galloped, pedaled, paddled, and scampered my way through grade school. Sitting for long periods of time still makes me itch.
I itch a lot.
I set the timer for 30 minutes during my writing day. The trill releases me to move about for five minutes to keep my blood from turning to sludge. This is the only way I can be a writer.
Two years ago, a double-whammy injury made me sedentary for most of a year. As you’ve probably already guessed, the limitations nearly drove me insane. And since I am of a “certain” age, my body isn’t bouncing back.
I’m walking daily—through wind and sleet and dark of night—and contorting myself through stretches and Pilates.
And still the muscles growl and bite.
My physical therapist tells me to stick with it.
My brain needs a regular workout, too. I keep a book of crossword puzzles handy, read delicious novels, and journal daily with a feverish hand. A writer needs more, something to spark the creative genius within. Some call them writing exercises. Not me. I do plenty of exercises, thank you very much. I call these activities games.
Writing games prod us to look at something with fresh eyes, to be male though female, to remember the summer of ’88 or ’62 or 2079. Perhaps a writing game will give you that rare opportunity to have a sit-down with your cat. To meet your great-great grandmother at her favorite Disney World ride. To describe two very different feet.
Here are five, quick “games” from Elizabeth Berg’s book, The Art of Writing True. Choose one or all. Whatever you do, have fun! To make this more interesting. If you're a woman, play the game as a man. If you're a man, yep, you've got your pink thinking cap on today.
Use these three words in a sentence: dream, heart, gold.
He’s so weird! He likes to eat ___________ and __________ together!
Write the first line for a love story.
Write the last line for a tragedy.
An odd smell, a mix of __________ and __________
Since I'm asking so much of you today, for all who play I'll put your name in a hat and pull out a winner. The prize is one of my novels. Your choice! Ready, set...go!