Writing 101- Committing to a writing practice …

Today’s Prompt: Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?

Nailing Brahms’ Hungarian Dance Number 5 on your alto sax. Making perfect pulled pork tacos. Drawing what you see. Or, writing a novel. Each requires that you make practice a habit.

Today, try free writing. To begin, empty your mind onto the page. Don’t censor yourself; don’t think. Just let go. Let the emotions or memories connected to your three songs carry you.

Today’s twist: You’ll commit to a writing practice. The frequency and the amount of time you choose to spend today — and moving forward — are up to you, but we recommend a minimum of fifteen uninterrupted minutes per day.

The basic unit of writing practice is the timed exercise.

– Natalie Goldberg

Author Natalie Goldberg says to “burn through to first thoughts, to that place where energy is unobstructed by social politeness or the internal censor.” Here are some of her rules of free writing practice from Writing Down the Bones, which we recommend you keep in mind:

  • Keep your hand moving. (Don’t pause to reread the line you’ve just written. That’s stalling and trying to get control of what you’re saying.)
  • Don’t cross out. (That is editing as you write. Even if you write something you didn’t mean to write, leave it.)
  • Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar. (Don’t even care about staying within the margins and lines on the page.)
  • Lose control.
  • Don’t think. Don’t get logical.
  • Go for the jugular. (If something comes up in your writing that is scary or naked, dive right into it. It probably has lots of energy.)

Today’s assignment asks for choosing three songs, that are the most important in our life and what they mean to us?

For me that is a difficult task. There are many that have come into my life at different times. I tend to focus on the artist rather than the product.

My taste in music is somewhat eclectic, anyway. The last time I ever really listened specifically to popular music would have been in early 1970’s. Since then, I have not lived under a rock and have heard all sorts of music. Some good, some not so … My feeling is that Payola still exists. That what the general public hears on radio stations AM/FM, etc. Is still manipulated by industry.

That is not to say that talent and hard work is not required.

In my youth, I lived in North London U.K. I would go to different clubs and pubs, with friends and occasionally by myself. To listen to the vibrant music culture that was emerging then. I remember one DJ. from the ill-fated Radio Caroline. Boasting that he could influence society’s buying habits, through wearing an article of clothing, or playing a particular record in about three weeks. He was likely right? For that’s how trends are started. people make money and some of that moola flows straight down, to those who can influence the most.

So, how do I choose? Three is such a limiting number.

How do others write? I use those scribblers that in September after “Back to School” events are over, go on sale. I use a pencil. Generally a propelling one. That only requires leads to refill. Pencils are “high-tech” instruments.  The hand guides them like a mouse and they have a delete feature on the top. One can fast-forward, eliminate, copy and paste very simply.

Do I worry about spelling, punctuation or grammar? … Yes I do! But i seldom think. Just let it flow, as if drawing.

Go for the jugular? Well violence just begets more violence. Going for the jugular may be just phrase that is urging us to say what we mean? But the “jugular” … c’mon. Let’s keep a sense of proportion and try to be polite, as we draw the noose tighter? ;-]

Okay down to the nitty gritty, … now there’s an influence from the 1970’s, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. They’re still playing, ya’ know?

In the 1950’s I used to listen to a BBC radio show called Children’s Favourites with the host Uncle Mac. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derek_McCulloch

The music choices were wide and eclectic. All good. Maybe the first song I sang to myself was this one? Popularized by the Kingston Trio and in Britain by Lonnie Donegan. About a man with the name of Thomas C. Dula who was hanged in 1868 for the murder of Laura Foster.

My next song chosen is from the 1960’s. I might have chosen one of several Beatles songs from the time, or one of many other British Bands that shot to prominence. There was so much going on then, on both sides of the Atlantic. For myself 1968 was a special year. This next tune dates from then.

The last choice. Is a difficult one, in that, I’ve already used up two choices. Yet I am determined to use this one, in my selections. Since it is the last opportunity in this post. Here it is. From the coffee houses of New York, in 1960’s to a life in Hawaii. Buffy Sainte Marie :-