More than 15 years ago, I ran across one of those websites where they insist you can be a writer…that you are, in fact, already a writer although you may not know it. They were selling something (that I didn’t buy), but the test to see if you were, indeed, a writer stuck with me.
Here was their shtick: They gave me 3 random, unrelated words and 3 minutes to write. The only rule: I had to include the 3 words in whatever I wrote. Then they said “go.”
I have no idea what the name of the company was or what exactly they were trying to get me to buy, but that little exercise has stayed with me all this time. I did the 3 minutes, and I used all 3 words. When I reread what I’d written, I remember how much I really liked it…it was sort of clever and completely spontaneous.
The confinement of having to use the 3 specific, arbitrary words did the opposite of confine me…it set my imagination free. I had to find the common thread in the three items and find a way to tie them in.
Whenever I get really stuck, I do this little exercise again. I pull out a dictionary and point to a word on three different pages. Then I go for 3 minutes. It gets words on the page, and it reminds me how fun writing can really be.
Try it, and let me know if it’s as fun for you!