Thursday, March 27, 2014

Creative Writing: Before You Write, Try Clustering

One of the activities I like to do before I actually sit down and write is "clustering."  It jostles the mind, loosens up ideas so they float up and you are able to catch them, as if casting a net in the sea and capturing fish.  What you get are seemingly random ideas/thoughts. Welcome them. Again, there's no right nor wrong here. Think of  "clustering" as playing, and then you're on the right track.  Don't "think."  Just let it rip.

Make a circle in the middle of a page, and write a word in it. Usually this word should be related to what you want to write about, but if you don't have a topic as of yet, you can jot down the first word that pops into your head. Any word, no matter how silly.

Now, without thinking, "catch" the other words/ideas/thoughts that surface. Draw a line to the main word, create a circle and write that word inside that outer circle. That word will bring up other related words/ideas/thoughts - write those down as well to "catch" them. One thought spurs on another thoughts, and so on.

You will get something like the clustering I did above.

This frees you up. When you think you are blocked; when you simply can't write, try clustering. After you've written down these random thoughts/ideas, you will find a lot to write about. You can even get a sense of an "outline" from the way the ideas have clustered.

You can do clustering for any writing activity, not just creative one. So, teachers, note, that your students can cluster to help them write their homework or papers. Lawyers, note, that this can also help you with your legal briefs or other documents.

Clustering is easy and fun, and it gets you going especially when you are stuck.

Happy writing.

Read also

  • How Long Should Your Novel (or Short Story) Be?
  • Leonard Bercovici Legacy "Get into the Head of Your Character"
  • Make a Date with the Muse
  • Creative Writing: The Importance of Sensual Writing

  • Creative Writing: Journal Writing and my Pink Lock and Key Diary
  • Creative Writing: Your Writing Work Space (In My Case, Where My Cats Hang Out)
  • Creative Writing: Two Important Rules
  • Creative Writing: Explosion and Drawing as Writing Exercises
  • How to Write a Novel #1

  • How to Write a Novel #2

  • This is all for now,

    tags: clustering, creative writing, writing, literature, fiction, workshop, block, writer's block, right brain, technique

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