Distraction exercises – part 1.

by limebirdster

Do you ever get that feeling when you’ve been writing something for a long time, or you’re writing a lot of something in a short time like NaNo, when you just need to write something else?

Not to give up on your project, but just as a little break, to focus on something else for a few minutes. Because I feel like that all the time, and then it’s really hard to concentrate on something else and then switch back. I find myself starting a whole new big project and then having so many massive projects on the go at once that I have no idea what I’m doing!

So, here’s the idea: Short little exercises that only take a few minutes, but give your brain that much needed rest from the Big Project That Just May Be Spiraling Into Something Far Too Epic To Control.

Now I know that I started by talking about NaNo, but for this I think I’m going to start at poetry instead. Because I think that sometimes poetry feels a little bit left out on Limebird – not that we don’t love it, we love all of our genres equally here, but it can be hard sometimes! So this exercise is easy, and it can be a lot of fun.

Poetry – Haiku to Tanka

A haiku, if you haven’t come across them before, is a 3 line poem that has 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second line, and 5 again in the third line. It usually describes a single moment rather than a whole story.

A Tanka follows the same pattern but has 2 more lines, both 7 syllables each.

So the exercise is this: Find a haiku and add 2 lines to make it into a tanka.

If you’ve written a haiku before then feel free to use that. If you haven’t, feel free to use google to borrow one. Or, my personal favourite way to do this exercise, give a friend your haiku and take one of theirs.

This is especially fun in large groups. I discovered this exercise at uni and the entire class had to pass their haikus on to the right. And then we all tried to sabotage them.

A delicate piece about flowers ended in a puddle full of pollution. Hate became love. Love became hate. Up became down. And I took it upon myself to use the word photosynthesizes. Yes, that is a 6 syllable word in a 7 syllable line. And no, I don’t particularly recommend doing it!

So there you go, your first Limebird distraction exercise. Give it a go, it only takes a few minutes and then you can get back to slaving away at the Big Project!


12 Comments to “Distraction exercises – part 1.”

  1. What an awesome idea Ster!

    Here’s my go:

    Green and speckled legs,
    Hop on logs and lily pads
    Splash in cool water.

    Oh no, what’s that above me?
    A bird wants to eat me up!

  2. I’ll give this a go on a day when my brain is less fried from the first day back to work after a long holiday weekend. 🙂

  3. It’s good to have a little break from writing projects, I agree. Even while NaNo, I’ve tried to keep up writing on my own blog and on this one, as well as writing a short script for a film, and I even did a little Haiku myself a couple of days ago! (Just as a comment on a blog post where they were asking for comments to be in poetry, preferably Haiku form.)

    I’m not feeling very inspired to write one now though, maybe later…

  4. Here is one I did on my blog for the keywords: Jovial, Taint, Pied.

    Jovial piper,
    Woolen pied waistcoat. Skipping.
    Tainted river flows.

    Children happily jump in,
    mother’s screams bear them away.

  5. Very interesting idea. I’ll have to try it some time.

    I do know the idea of wanting to write something different after working for so long on a big project…

  6. Neat idea. I like the idea of twisting something familiar, I think it is great practice to make us better writers. I’ll definitely give it a shot sometime and see where I can go with it!

  7. Ohhh I do get distracted all the time! I’ll get a good idea going, sit down to work and suddenly I’ve got some different completely unrelated idea brewing. It’s a mess in my head, an unorganized scary mess!

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