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A Good Writing Exercise
James Thinking of a Good Writing Exercise

So, in my first two blog postings I seem to have been on this kick about journaling, which is something that is a good things to do and comes highly recommended, but also something I have a lot of trouble doing with any regularity or consistency.

The point to it all, or at least my concern is that by not keeping a steady journal I am letting my writing chops flag a little. Ghost writing nonfiction books is something that I like to do very much, but the problem is that it is always so much work compressed into a short time span so it feels as if I don't have the time to do anything other than work on the book. And then at the end of the day I am so tired of sitting in front of the computer that I just want to relax with kids and wife and spend my time watching a little TV with a good crossword puzzle.

The writing exercise that I have hit on that seems to be helping me keep it together and has at least a little bit of promise of keeping me going on a regular basis is to sit down with a blank journal (real pen and paper, not the computer) and write short little fiction pieces, sketches really in the same way that an artist would work on technique by sketching (fancy doodling). So I create a character and write a few paragraphs. Or I create a situation and do a few paragraphs. Or create a scene. Or describe someone doing some simple thing such as eating soup or what they look like while working on a computer. The idea is to get interested in doing something that doesn't take a ton of concentration and that is easy to do even while watching TV or drifting in and out of a conversation or what have you. I suppose this equates to a crossword puzzle replacement.

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I can identify with the

I can identify with the short fiction pieces you write about.  i do that all the time and get to broadcast them on radio on a regular basis, like snapshots of life in words!

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Thanks for the note

Mary,

Thanks for the note on my blog post.

 That's great that you get to read your work regularly on the radio. That must be quite a bit of fun not to mention a good exercise. How did you get to be able to do that?

Best,

James

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Radio writing

Hi James,

Well I got into it because when I moved back from the United States I wrote a short article about our move and the transition to life here for the Irish Times (An Irishwoman's Diary), submitted it and they published it!  After that I started to write small clips of reflections (250 wds) and I sent one off to RTE Radio 1 (A Living Word), the producer called me and said she ( a woman produced it back then) liked it but that they needed four more.  The slot is a daily reflective piece for the week Mon-Fri.  That was thirteen years ago and I continue to contribute to this day.  Some of my pieces have been published in a book called A Living Word.  You can google rte radio 1, scroll down their proramme list to A Living Word and there you will find their audio archive.  Then I wrote longer essays for Lyric FM here in Ireland. Also published in The Quiet Quarter Anthology. Typical fare on this station is classical and jazz and they have a slot in the mornings called The Quiet Quarter (time to stop and think, kind of thing).  I sent off a batch and they liked them and after that I submitted on a regular basis.  They host well established writers and new writing.  They pay too and that is nice.  The QQ scripts have to be at least 650 wds to 700 wds.  I find there is a real trick to writing for radio, you are writing for the ear and not the eye, it has to be personal and  every word has to count becaus of the limitation  of 250 words and  you really have to craft it  and still maintain the point or the message or the insight/epiphany and try not to sound too corny doing it! One draw back is that you get accustomed to writing short pieces and I find now that by the time I get to 1,500 words I run out of steam.  Funny how the mind works with ''stuff''. Best wishes from a dull November's day in Galway! Weatherwise etc!