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Use this technique to create a poem from your subconscious writing fragments

In my last post, I wrote about a writing practice that I was using to try to generate material for poems, essays, and even memoir. If you joined me in my quest to write from the subconscious, you may be accumulating some wild pages of words by now. So I’m going to give you the next step in the practice.

When you have about 10 or 12 pages, pull them out of the drawer and read them. Highlight, underline, or circle anything that looks interesting, tugs at your chest, pings your brain, or just seems downright weird. You’ll find some material that is boring, odd, and exciting. You’ll likely not even remember writing it.

Next, on a separate piece of paper or entry in your computer, note the words, phrases and sentences that you highlighted. Number them, allowing space to write or type on the page.

On this new page, again highlight or circle anything that grabs you. Note them on another piece of paper and number them. Be even more brutal about whittling out the odd, fresh, juicy parts. Consider what these bits and pieces are telling you. By now, you probably have less than a page of sentence fragments. You may start to see patterns and relationships with the numbered words and sentences. You might spot a title for a poem or phrases that remind you of something or spark an idea. Arrange the fragments that go together into a poem. Keep working on it. Add, blend, chop.

You just may have come up with something you weren’t counting on, but something good.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sim #

    Subconscious writing fragments comprise the bulk of my written work. I’ve written this way for years and problem for me, I don’t know what to do next. I haven’t published any of it in a book or blog, and I get lost trying to forge an essay or short story. Which means, I hate looking back on what I’ve written.

    I’m certain that I’m able to create valuable work but don’t know how to turn it into a job or career just yet (B.A in psychology. No job. No money. No assets). I don’t know what else to do beside creating and hoarding more “subconscious” work that just flows through my hand. I just watch my hand write; I love hand writing. I would make such a better writer if I had a concrete way to do something with this stuff or knew a way to refine the process.

    February 18, 2012
    • Hi Simon, it sounds like you really care about writing and are on the right track because, well, you’re writing! And so many people talk about it but don’t do it. Keep working through the process. Follow the steps above, and experiment. Then revise and revise. I believe you will have breakthroughs with your writing. In upcoming posts, my blogging partner and I will be writing more about more ways to develop ideas, so stay tuned.

      February 20, 2012

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