#9 Fevered Writing

So many wonderful pieces have a bit of the otherworldly, fantastical, or horrific in them. We’re often told as writers to “write what you know” but it is so much more surprising to write what you don’t know.

To lie.

To pretend.

To imagine the worst and the best “what ifs.”

When you write about what you know, attempt to flip it on its side, to create some experience that is truly unique.

One amazing way to jump-start the imagination and create imagery, yet remain emotionally connected, is to tap into your dreams. Dreams come from your own experiences and imagination. They are ready-made and filtered through your heart, mind, and obsessions. Pre-twisted and flipped on their side to be something strange and wonderfully new.

The trick is to grab these ideas while they’re still hot and fresh and write them down quickly. You can do this with fevered writing (also called automatic writing), writing without stopping or editing in one continuous flow.

It is best to do this as soon as you wake up so that your mind cannot begin to forget to filter anything.

Here’s an exercise:

Wake up. Do not think.

Grab your pen and paper.

Do not think.

Set a timer for 12 minutes.

Write without stopping. Do not lift your pen from your paper. Do not stop writing. Do not think about what you’re writing.

Record your dream as you remember it, and if you don’t, just start writing about what you think you may have dreamed.

Allow yourself to be as crazy as possible.

Do not read your work until your timer goes off.

You can do this exercise at any time. After coffee, after dinner, when you’re bored at work–any time!

By J. M. Tuckerman

J.M.Tuckerman is a neurodivergent writer with a big education. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, an MA in Writing, and a BA in Writing Arts (specializing in Creative Writing, New Media Writing, and Publication; concentrating in New Media Production), which she somehow managed to earn despite her three very loud and large dogs. Jessica was lucky enough to intern at Quirk Books and Picador, USA while earning her masterโ€™s degrees. Her service dog, Ringo, is very proud of all that she has accomplished and hopes to be on a back cover of a published book with her very soon. An avid reader, writer, and lover of young adult and middle-grade literature, Jessicaโ€™s bookshelf is overflowing with hardbacks, paperbacks, and a million half-filled notebooks. She is a proud fur-mommy to two lab/st-bernard littermates, a retriever-mix service dog, and one orange little hobgoblin cat, all of whom have made very audible appearances on the Booked All Night podcast.

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