Sunday, March 4, 2012

"I Don't Remember"

This is a writing exercise I shamelessly cribbed from Natalie Goldberg's striking book on writing, Wild Mind.

1) Write for ten minutes, using the introductory phrase, "I remember..."

2) Then, write for ten more minutes using the phrase, "I don't remember..."

It's a simple, but brilliant, exercise. Why? Because the "I don't remember" sentence gives you full permission to be unembarrassed about what you write. You can describe anything, because none of it really happened. You don't remember!

Suddenly, you have permission to take yourself to unreal, dreamlike and ridiculous places. And that's where all the really good ideas are.

Here's a variation: try the same exercise use phrases like:

I want/I don't want,
I know/I don't know,
I feel/I don't feel,
and so on.

Have these techniques helped you? Why or why not?