Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What Kind of Writer Are You?

Do you have favorite pen?  Do you have a special notebook that you carry everywhere in which you write your reflections, stories or poems?  Can you only write on the plane, or at night or in the morning? Do you have to wear  your favorite pajamas to write or sit at a certain table?  

In my lifetime, I have had a variety of preferences.   My current favorite writing utensils, if not using my computer or iPad, are a quad point pen (blue ink- never black) and moleskine notebooks. ( I use several versions of their paperback notebooks.)

Writers are often closely tied to uniquely personal habits and tools.

Each May, the Columbus Area Writing Project holds a pre-institute meeting for those who will be attending the Summer Institute.  At this session, the participants meet for the first time and we review the assignments, schedule, expectations and other related information. Most importantly, we write the first piece of writing of the institute.

Our traditional prompt is I am a _______writer.  Each year, since 2005, I have written to this prompt and had the opportunity to reflect anew on my nature as a writer. I usually describe my writing personality, habits and preferred tools.  Sometimes I mention my purposes and struggles as a writer.

Here are some sample lines I have written to this prompt

May 2005- Excerpt

I am a reading writer.
Everything I read influences
what I write and desire to write
 and takes me in directions
I would never have gone.
Experiments with structures.
“I wonder if I could do it this way…
And then again this way”….

I am a student writer
learning more
each time I write.

May 2009 - Excerpt

I am a frantic writer grabbing napkins or scraps of paper to get down the brainstorm that may never get published beyond my purse.
I am an eager writer approaching the blank space as a personal challenge, the blank page a new frontier.
I am an experimental writer.  Can I put this feeling into a haiku instead of a long tirade? Haiku is good for me because I talk too much.

May 2010 Excerpt

I am a lay in bed composing the next Pulitzer prize poem, yet it is gone in the morning kind of writer.
I am a heard that snatch of conversation in the mall-wow that is poem kind of writer

In 2011 I decided to try something different.  Instead of the typical musings I usually produce for this prompt, this piece highlights my writing in a much wider context of spirituality and relationship to God, to culture and heritage and history, and also it embodies the theme for the 2011 institute which was Intersections and Inbetweens: Writing at the Crossroads. The experimental poem began:

The Writer Who is—I AM

The writer who is
and was
and watched God
and say
Let there be light and truth
and words,

The writer who
excavated hidden scriptures
ancient scrolls and
underlayers of meaning
recasting the words
as personal psalms
and prophetic prayers
You  can read the entire poem here in the National Gallery of Writing

We all have writing personalities and writing preferences.  What are yours?

Today’s Deeper Writing Possibility

What kind of writer are you?
When do you write and why?
Do you have favorite pen or notebook?

Write about your nature and personality, your habits and tools, your preferences and inspirations as a writer.
You may want to begin: I am a _________writer.

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