16 in 1 (the road to Pete’s Kitchen)

Through this 31-day challenge, I am reminded of the importance of writing volume and committed practice. By simply getting my pencil in motion and words on paper each day, I am learning technique, frame and conventional preference, even when it doesn’t show up in my writing right away. The constant revision is so healthy for my work.

This daily practice is essential and tricky; while I have a midnight and public deadline to get me there, I would never ask students to take writing to a full-eyed forum on a 24-hour basis. I would, however, offer them ways to not only generate ideas, but to design hopeful content (hopeful, in this sense, means ideas that will be worth developing once the real moment strikes).

The following strategy helped move my own writing along earlier this week. Facilitating this exercise with students has brought them to evident joy and success within their writing selves. It’s worth a go:

  1. Find a sweet spot in your writer’s notebook (I turned to the last page in my notebook just to be ornery).
  2. Think of a place that is compelling, interesting or special to you and write it somewhere on the page (I wrote Denver, CO sideways on the left, and in all caps).
  3. Now, identify 16 intriguing & intricate spots within that place (I closed my eyes and thought of all the reasons why Denver is my center. I listed 16; I could have listed more).
  4. Next, divide by 4. Choose 4 of those spots that you could tell a story about or write a great line about (I chose the Warwick, Pete’s Kitchen. Red Rocks & Tennyson Street).
  5. Now run with one. Let it pour out. Tell a story, and be happy with whatever and wherever it gets you (I wrote Pete’s Kitchen).

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