I’m excited to share this writing prompt from David Menconi, the wonderful 2019 Piedmont Laureate.
Near the end of March, I reached out to a handful of experts to request a quick tip or exercise for people who are writing at home.
[Speaking of writers, here’s a suggestion: Dig into the PL blog archives to read the generous and useful posts written by Piedmont Laureates in previous years. You won’t be disappointed.]
It’s taken me nearly a month to circle back around to sharing what I received, but I’m happy to say that a good writing tip rarely goes out of style.
If you are feeling the itch to write, AND you are also feeling blocked, then the tip below from David Menconi might be just the rocket booster you need.
This is an extraordinarily silly exercise, but it has actually worked for me as a sort of mental reboot.
If you’re stuck on a piece of writing, especially how to begin something, put it aside, go to the bookshelf, randomly select a book, randomly point to a sentence & type it.
I did this just now & the book is Lewis Shiner’s very fine 1993 novel “Glimpses.” From page 177:“Does this have anything to do with that Beach Boys tape you played me last night?”
Put aside the book, treat that as the first sentence of something & just keep typing/writing for a while. Don’t worry about how good/bad it is or even think too much about it. I have found that it’s a good idea to stop before writing myself into a corner.
After that, go back to your main task & you might find it possible to burp something onto the page that you can at least start working with.David Menconi, PL ’19
Read two recent articles of David’s for Come Hear North Carolina: a celebration of our state’s music
019 Piedmont Laureate David Menconi covered music for the (Raleigh) News & Observer for 28 years. His book “Step It Up and Go: The Story of North Carolina Popular Music, from Blind Boy Fuller and Doc Watson to Nina Simone and Superchunk” will be published this fall by the University of North Carolina Press.