The Southbank Writer’s Program in Surrey has been underway for 3 weeks now and we’ve been picking up some writing germs along the way.
Instructor Nancy Lee taught us that great writers are born, for the most part, of thousands of hours of writing practice rather than a God-given talent. She helped us to see that by worrying less about perfection and getting it right the first time, that our best writing comes from exploring our imaginations freely on the page.
Lois Peterson introduced the concept of ‘germs’ to us. Germs are those ideas for a writing piece that come to us when we’re driving down the highway, sleeping in our beds, reading the newspaper, or when we overhear a conversation. The trick is to make a note of these germs as soon as we think of them and then to spend some time watering and feeding them until they are ready to grow. “Don’t judge a germ”, Lois says, “just record it and start asking questions about it.” Don’t write until you are ready. You should feel so pregnant with the story that you will burst; that’s the time to begin writing.
Poet Jami Macarty showed us to look for the germ of a poem through a writing exercise than began with a most unlikely seed: cataloging the start of our day in reverse order. Simple sentences came out of the exercise, such as,”grab keys from counter,” “get up and feed the cats.” But once we focused on those words, sounds, images and letters that meant something to us, we began to find the germ to a poem and the unexplored seeds that lay dormant inside us.
We’re looking forward to some great insights from Jami this week before we journey into the world of non-fiction with Bryan Payton this weekend.
Post by Claire De Boer —Mentor, Southbank Writer’s Program
Claire De Boer is a fiction writer and graduate of both The Writer’s Studio and the London School of Journalism. She is the Wellness Editor and regular contributor for SheLoves Magazine and also provides professional writing services.
Creative commons image courtesy of flickr.com.