Sometimes we all need to kickstart our creative side. When I am feeling that need there are several books I turn to.
1. “Rip the Page: Adventures in Creative Writing” by Karen Benke
This book is full of creativity exercises, which are interspersed with pieces of advice from writers.
One of my favourite creativity exercises from this book is “list poems”. “You can make a poem from a list of just about anything…” states Benke at the beginning of the exercise. She goes on to give several examples such as, “10 Things I Thought About As I Walked From School Today” or “What My Father Taught Me”.
Here is an example that I did in April:
10 Things that make me happy
A rainbow, especially if it’s a double one
Waking up to the sound of birds singing
Violets covering the lawn
Taking a walk in the sunshine
Laughing with people
Colouring in my colouring book
Something yummy baking–mmmm
Cream in my tea
A purring cat
Sitting in front of a fire
2. “Leap Write IN! Adventures in Creative Writing” by Karen Benke
This is the followup book to the first one. It is similar in format to the first one without the writers’ advice.
One of my favourite exercises in this book is found poems. Benke has this to say about found poems: “OK, so all you need to find found-poem treasure is to copy down words, phrases, fragments, and entire sentences exactly as you see them written or hear them spoken…They’re everywhere…On ordinary road signs. The covers of magazines. In book titles, chapter headings, and newspaper articles. Written on candy wrappers…”
One place that this is fun to do is in the car, especially on a long drive.
Here’s one I wrote in May from 1 newspaper headline, 2 notices written by my student, 1 sentence from a colouring set, and 1 sentence from a letter from school.
3. “Unjournalling” by Dawn DiPrince and Cheryl Miller Thurston
This book promises exercises that are “NOT introspective, NOT personal, and NOT boring”. Certainly the exercises are fun.
One exercise asks you to write about “What are the best reasons for doing nothing? List them.” Another asks “How many ways can you find to say no…without using the word no?” What do you think?
These books are ones I also like to use with my daughter and my writing student, who are both in grade 5.
Leave me a list poem or found poem in the comments below, if you want. I’d love to read it.