08/12/2017
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Writing exercises: Creative Christmas

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Have a creative Christmas with some free-range writing!

Christmas is a brilliant source of material for every kind of writing, and writing is a brilliant way of taking some much-needed you-time when things feel hectic or emotional. So, this year, why not treat yourself to a few delicious writing breaks with a Christmas themed free-range writing foray, from Jenny Alexander.

Don’t worry about writing well. Just write whatever comes and stick to the time limits – that will help you not to feel intimidated by the blank page, or worry prematurely about writing well. Personal writing and first drafts are not supposed to be good. As Hemingway famously said, the first draft of anything is sh*t! That is a true and liberating thought.

Memoir: Your Christmas album

How did your family celebrate Christmas when you were a small child? Think back as far as you can remember, to your earliest Christmas memories, and scan forward through the rest of your childhood. Imagine these memories as snapshot moments.

  • Snap! This is me, age four or five, sitting on Santa’s knee, beside the tree in our front room.
  • Snap! Me finding my brand new bike propped up in the hall, with tinsel wrapped round the handlebars, age about eight.
  • Snap! We’re tearing up the bread, trying to spread it with butter straight from the fridge, making turkey sandwiches for Christmas tea. Age about thirteen.

Carry on through your adult years, right up to the present day. Take a maximum of five minutes for this initial pondering.

Which of these snapshots would you like to put in your Christmas album? Choose three. Look more closely at these pictures in your mind. Who else is in them? What is in the background?

Write for five minutes about each one, simply describing what you see. Finish each of these little word sketches off with a title and date.

Check back next week for more "free-range forays" – with exercises for poetry, non-fiction and fiction 

• Make 2018 your most adventurous writing year ever with Jenny Alexander’s new book, Free-Range Writing: 75 Forays for the Wild Writer’s Soul. Available now in paperback and ebook. See her website for more details

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