Our main discussion will take place on our Discourse channel. There, you can upload your photos of what you wrote for the simple creative writing exercises and discuss your thoughts about the process with others.

I am going to post my writings on this discussion post as a reference. I sat on my couch with my dogs, and I laid out colored pencils and pens, and I wrote for a couple of hours! I wish I would have had funner paper, but I worked with what I had. I wanted to go to Michael's and buy fun paper, but I wasn't about to do that in Florida during COVID!

I noticed as I was writing, that it was still fairly hard for me to let my imagination run free. I still put pressure on myself - just for these little exercises. Did you also find that when you were writing? If so, why do you think that is? Or maybe, you did let your imagination run wild without stress or doubt. Can you tell us how it was for you?

For me, it was easier to write without doubt and restraints the longer I wrote. The hardest exercise for me was the one I thought would be easiest: writing about my pet dinosaur! I definitely did not expect that, because it was the exercise I was most excited about. Which exercise did you find the hardest? The easiest? Why do think that is? I think perhaps I got too excited talking about my velociraptor and somehow that made me put pressure on myself for whatever I wrote to turn out "funny" and "easygoing."

Here is what I wrote for our first exercise:

Another thing that I noticed when writing about dear Geoffrey, was that even though I was writing longhand and was bound to make some spelling errors and mistakes, I still wanted my writing to look perfect. I let that go about a third of the way through, when I scratched through a word that I spelled incorrectly. I also noticed that my handwriting got worse as I went through the exercises, and that bothered me. Maybe it's the perfectionist in me. Or maybe it's the underlying need for perfection that has been instilled in me since grade school. Did you have similar findings?

In the second exercise, I list happy memories, but I also list memories that were hard for me to write on paper and share. I would like to add a Content Warning to it, even though I do not go into details, because some of the memories I list may be hard to read. For this reason, I ask that you only upload this exercise if you are comfortable doing so, and if you have some hard memories on your list, that you please also add a Content Warning.

I found that this exercise was my favorite one to write. It was very relaxing for me to write down different memories that came to mind - and I enjoyed the fact that they were in random order. This made me feel less stressed. This made me feel at ease with myself as a person and a writer. After I finished writing, I felt like I had just completed an intense (but good) therapy session.

But doing this second exercise was also a great way to clear my mind of the things happening around me now. I didn't think about my long to-do list, or the future, or COVID. For as long as I listed my memories, I lived in the past, in a good, therapeutic way, and left the worries of the present and the future for awhile. People tend to say to leave the past in the past, but maybe it is good to visit it sometimes. What were your thoughts on this exercise?

This is an exercise that I would happily have my first year law students do during a workshop, as they are stressed every waking moment and could us a breather to reflect on other things. Could you see yourself doing this exercises in the class(es) that you teach? Why or why not? If not, is there a way you could alter this exercise to benefit your students?

The third exercise is a simple one. It's one that I've seen in grade school, middle and high school, and even in my college-level Spanish classes. There are a lot of different things that you can do with writing about a certain memory. I chose a funny childhood memory because I thought we could all use a laugh or smile after writing down our emotional memories in exercise two.

One thing I love about writing out old memories is that I tend to remember other memories in the midst of my writing, and sometimes that helps me figure out other things I'd like to write about, or it gives me inspiration or ideas for projects I am in the middle of.

Though this exercise is more common and done a lot, can you see yourself asking your students to write something similar? Do you think it's beneficial for us to go back in time and reflect?

I really hope that you enjoyed these exercises as much as I did. Please head over to Blog Post 1: Discussion on Discourse and share your writings (if you feel comfortable doing so). I would also love if you could talk about your thoughts about the exercises and answer some of the questions I brought up in this post. No need to answer every question - I am more intrigued in the discussion we will have!

Tomorrow (Wednesday), please read and participate in Blog Post 2: Free-write and Blog Post 2: Discussion & Farewell.

~ Read next post in Bringing Imagination to Teaching ~

Blog Post 2: Free-write

Posted by Bethany Thomas

3 min read