Today, I wanted to post a video talking about writing marathons. I’m talking about the writing marathons that Natalie Goldberg talks about in her book Writing Down the Bones.
In my video, I talk about how I became aware of writing marathons and Natalie’s book. (Yes, it involves Livejournal. Man, I’m old.) (Speaking of old, it’s also my birthday today! If you’d like to do something to help me out you can buy my book!)
Transcript from video:
Hey everyone. I am author, Sara Crawford, and I am here to talk to you today about writing marathons.
Okay, so there’s this writing craft book called Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. It was the first writing craft book I ever read, and it’s definitely one of my favorites. You guys should all check it out, but in this book she talks about writing marathons. Okay so during a writing marathon, there’s a bunch of people that get together and you have different rounds. Let’s say the first round, you know, you say we’re all going to write for ten minutes. The second round, we’re all going to write for twenty minutes, etc. etc. At the beginning of a round, someone draws a writing prompt out of a bowl or some other random way to get a writing prompt and you say, “okay, we’re going to write for ten minutes on summer.” But you don’t actually have to use the writing prompt. You can just write for ten minutes on anything you want, really. And then at the end of the round, everybody goes around and whoever wants to reads their piece that they wrote their piece that they wrote, and then nobody says anything. Nobody gives any feedback. And the whole point is just to keep writing and be kind of in a communal spirit, and it’s really cool. After you’ve done this all day, some really cool stuff starts coming out.
So back in the day, when I was on LiveJournal (that tells you how old that was), I found a writing group in Atlanta that was based
entirely on this concept of writing marathons. They would host these writing marathons once a month and we would all get together and just write all day. I remember the first time I came, they gave everybody blank journals or notebooks at the end, and the goal was to fill the entire thing in the month before we all met back again to do the next writing marathon. So I kind of started really journaling a lot more then than I already was. I think that’s kind of what helped me start journaling so much.
So I was doing #CampNaNoWriMo this past month, and I was thinking about writing marathons and journaling, and I was thinking about how it’s because of my experience with writing marathons and journaling so much that I am able to just sit down and write. It might not be good. I might have to do a lot of revision, but for me, the easiest way to get writing done is to just get out a first draft and have something to work with.
I would definitely recommend picking up this book. Read the section about writing marathons. Host a writing marathon if you can with some of your local writer friends or maybe you want to do one online. Do like a Skype write-in. Or you can even do one by yourself. I’ve definitely done that before.
You should definitely give it a shot because I think by the end of the day, something happens in your brain and you just are able to stream of consciousness write in a way that you won’t any other time.