For those of you who have been following along with the assignments, what did you do to break out of your comfort zone in July’s assignment? Some of the suggestions included: [P]ick a museum in the next town you’ve never visited, and make a trip out there. Or choose a restaurant in town and go to dinner by yourself. Or sit at a bus stop and observe all the passersby and for an hour. Or go to a cafe (preferably not your neighborhood cafe) and ask someone out (if you’re single). I’m definitely curious to know, so please share!
August Assignment: Breaking away from routine and gaining a fresh perspective can help refresh creativity. Write about your experience with focus on how you saw things, and how you felt about it. What makes this experience interesting is you. Instead of a page count, consider allotting yourself 30 minutes to write about this. I find that providing a time constraint can sometimes work better than using a page or word count constraint.
Then, go back to the draft of your story, novel excerpt or group of poems, and read as if you were reading the work of a stranger. Allow yourself to settle into the writing without taking notes or making edits. For the first reading, read in order to get the big picture, and the overall feel of the piece. Save the line notes, suggestions, and edits for your second reading. Once you’ve made notes, use August to rework the draft. The work may change shape, take on a new course, shift in tone or focus. This is absolutely all right. A work will evolve through numerous permutations before it comes into fullness. And remember that the work as well as the process are areas for self-discovery. So be thoughtful, listen to your own voice, and remember to be kind.