This is me starting the day with nothing except a hope
that I’ll make something beautiful out of nothing,
that I can conjure magic from scraps, a snip of a dream and a cup of coffee.
Me remembering that I’ve got this if I can just relax.
~ Laurie Wagner, Creator of 27 Powers
Last year I did a course with the wonderfully insightful Laurie Wagner called 27 Wild Days. What an adventure of wild writing it was! For 27 days the lovely Laurie appeared in my inbox via a video, sharing wisdom about writing and to read a poem. You listened to the poem (twice), Laurie provided a jumping off point — the title of the poem, a line from it or any other phrase that came to mind — and off you went.
The premise of wild writing is to write for fifteen minutes as fast as you can, pen never leaving the page, no thinking about it — write the words as they come to you. No looking for better words. If the word “shit” comes or “kook” or “frumpy bum” — anything that sounds silly or messy (or god forbid, unacceptable!) — it doesn’t matter, that’s the word to use. It’s your truth. This is what wild writing is all about. Getting to the heart of things. Laurie calls it “putting some skin in the game”.
Some days it’s writing about stuff that you don’t want to write about, beginning with a sentence like, “If you really knew me, you’d know…” And repeating that phrase as you continue to put ink on the page. It’s about the things that are hidden under the skin. The stuff you find difficult to write about.
It’s an awesome way to move into the heart of what matters to you, and it’s also terribly exciting to write onto the edge. You will generate power. You will surprise yourself, you will not bore yourself.
She’s right. It’s revealing. Beginning this way loosens you up until you get to the story that you really want to tell. It’s a wild ride, this truth telling.
I confess that when I started, I didn’t think I would have enough to say, that I wouldn’t be able to keep pen to page non-stop for fifteen minutes. But once I started with the truth-telling, I couldn’t stop. The ink kept flowing, the words tumbled out. The best part of it was that the demon of perfection didn’t have time to rear its ugly head. Before I knew it, fifteen minutes was up.
As the days rolled on, I discovered poetry in a form I had never read before. The stuff of real life. Raw emotion. Truth. I also discovered that some of what was appearing on my pages was poetry too. Good writing. Honest. Surprising and exhilarating.
I’d like to share some of this writing with you over the next few weeks, starting with something that I’m really good at. A to-do list. Nothing exciting about that, I hear you say. But this is a list with a difference. It’s nothing like any of my usual to-do lists. It’s inspired by Laurie’s jumping off point on Day 13 — “Things to do today” which is a line from Tony Hoagland’s poem The word.
Here’s a few lines of Tony’s beautiful poem:
Down near the bottom
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,
between “green thread”
and “broccoli,” you find
that you have penciled “sunlight ”
You can read the whole poem here
Reading my wild writing from Day 13 this morning was so well-timed because I was feeling a little low. It was such a great reminder of the simple things, ordinary things that give me joy. Things that I allowed to slip from my mind.
So here’s my list of “Things to do today”. It gives me joy to present it to you.
Things to do today
Enjoy a moment by yourself
Work on your plan, be productive
Walk your dog
Create something beautiful on the page, or in the kitchen
Pick fresh herbs and make a salad
Smile a lot
Think positive thoughts
See the beauty around you
Kiss amore and tell him that you love him
Take a few deep breaths
Smell the roses
Really see the colours of spring
Remember the people you love
Say their names out loud and send them a wish through the universe
Change your sheets and spray them with lavender and orange
Enjoy the sunshine
Plant some flowers
Drink lots of water
Write, a lot!
Write about the things you love, write a blog post, write a list of all the things you
plan to finish
Rest your back
Have a bath
Buy yourself something nice
Get in touch with your friend Ruth, tell her you’re thinking of her
Don’t beat yourself up about the things you haven’t done, think about the great things you’re going to do
Go to the beach and walk barefoot on the sand
Finish your drawing course
Finish something else on your list
Feel good about where you’re at right now
Meditate for five minutes
Post a beautiful picture on Instagram
Write a letter the old-fashioned way and send it to your daughter
Write one to your son as well
Find joy in the ordinary and be thankful for what’s good in your life
These are words from my wild heart, my wild writing — unpolished, unedited. Not just for today, for other days too. Days when I need a reminder that there are good things in my world. A reminder to be happy. I hope it will inspire you to think of things to do today that make you happy. And if you feel that 27 wild days of writing could be the thing that gets your creative juices flowing, or maybe you need a little help to get some ink on the page, why don’t you hop over and see Laurie. I guarantee that you’ll be delighted, surprised, maybe even a little shocked (in a nice way) at what appears on your page as you write your way through 27 wild days.
Over to you now. I’d love to hear what’s on your list. Maybe your list is a poem?