Fifty Random Sentences or How to Face the Blank Page…an exercise for when you're stuck

vintage-typewriterRecently writer/editor Wendy Russ asked me if I would again contribute a small piece of writing advice for Lascaux Review. (Here is my previous article: Read). I decided to share with their readers an exercise I’d devised and that always seems to work for me, no matter how stuck I am. Some people have already written to me to tell me they tried it and now they have some great first drafts!

Soooo, if you’re stuck right now (and I am, frequently), go and have a look:

Fifty Random Sentences or How to Face the Blank Page.

I’d love to hear back from you if you had success with this exercise!

11 thoughts on “Fifty Random Sentences or How to Face the Blank Page…an exercise for when you're stuck

  1. I’m going to do this today, in longhand, on a yellow legal pad. And I read your other article with all the reading suggestions. Just ordered the complete stories of Lydia Davis and an Amy Hempel novella/story collection. Plus, I’m enjoying your book immensely. Jennifer Egan said, “Read at the level you want to write.” I’m so careful now about what I expose my mind to because I absorb so much by osmosis. No junk food for my body or my brain. If you have a moment, I have a new “tiny tale” on my blog today.

  2. Jayne, that’s great. Let me know how the exercise goes. I always start with pen and paper! It’s the only way I can do it.

    You will love both of those collections, I bet. I agree with you about “no junk food.” And what Jennifer Egan said. Yes!

    Thanks for the kind words about my collection. I’m so happy to hear you’re enjoying it. I’ll go read your tiny tale right now!

  3. Just when I needed a bit of nudging, there you are. Like Jayne I’m going to do this. I’ve had one paragraph of a story sitting in front of me for about two weeks. I’m going to share this at FFC’s New and Emerging FB paged by linking to this. Again KF, thank you.

    • Oh great, Gay! I hope it helps you move forward with your story. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this always works for me. Every time. I think what it does it free you up to possibilities that wouldn’t ordinarily occur to you. You’ll get some weird stuff! But good stuff too. Please let me know how it goes for you. And thanks for linking!

    • Okay, I just finished my 50 sentences. It was the “quickly as you can” part that was the most difficult. It took two hours. I tend to get reflective and philosophical and it doesn’t help that I live high on a secluded mountaintop surrounded by the beauty of the natural world. However, I think I came up with some sentences to play with and so starts part two. If you don’t hear from me for a few days, send a search party. :).

  4. Reblogged this on Kathy Fish and commented:

    I’ve sorely neglected the writing tips/exercises aspect of this blog because I’ve been writing so much lately! I promise to get back to it, but in the meantime here’s a reblog of my 50 random sentences exercise…

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