Writing | Monthly Challenge
A couple years back, a good friend of mine bought me a wonderful book for Christmas in the hopes of inspiring my writing. It was a book called “The Five Minute Writer” an exercise and inspiration book for writers (you can find it here). It is what it says on the tin really, it provides you with a number of exercises that you’ll have five minutes to complete.
From time to time I’ve picked up this book and given it a quick go, and found myself quite enjoying it. Recently I’ve been in a bit of a writers slump, not motivated to write anything. As I want to use 2021 as my year to actually finish one of my writing projects, I thought I’d end the year by doing one of these exercises every day of December to get me in the mood. I won’t publish each day, I’m just combining them in weekly posts to save the trouble. Feel free to join in and let me know what you think…
December 12th – #52. Freewrite about a past job you had… (I chose copywriter)
It was my very first job out of university, well unless you count the six month stint as a bartender/burrito maker (odd yet amazing combination by the way). I had always aspired to be a writer, and when I stumbled across a job advert for a copywriter I thought “why the hell not?” I hadn’t heard of a copywriter before, but it sounded like what I wanted to do. Despite the nerves I managed to ace the interview and soon welcomed myself into the office of 8 others all typing away on their computers. I was introduced to the team and soon set to work. My first task was to read through the product copy that the others had written that day, quality checking it while also getting a feel for what I needed to eventually start doing.
At first it was a proud moment for me. When I finally got round to writing my own product copy and seeing it on the website I was so proud. I bragged to friends and family that I was now officially a paid writer, albeit not the best pay in the world, but wasn’t that what being a writer was all about? It was about a month or so later having written copy for hundreds on mundane products that I finally realised the truth. I was not a writer, I was a copywriter, and a very bored one at that.
December 13th – #58. List all the decisions you’ve made in a day.
- Stayed indoors rather than going to the shop to buy milk
- Drank tea without milk because I didn’t go outside
- Chose not to go on my laptop for the day
- Eventually went to the shops and buy milk
- Posted a letter to my friend, despite not doing so for a week
- Watched the first movie I’d scrolled past on Netflix after half an hour
- Bought two books while browsing the shelves of a local charity shop
- Didn’t give away books in order to justify buying these two books
December 14th – #54. Write a list of 10 things you want/desire
- A better paying job
- To publish a book or develop a script
- Own my own house
- Finishing planning my wedding
- Three children
- A cat and a dog (that like each other)
- A comfier office chair
- The will to exercise a little more
- More books (or a library to hold them in)
- For lockdown to end.
December 15th – #43. Free write for five minutes about a dramatic scenario (I chose… a character who has received some unpleasant news)
The phone fell from Jacob’s shaking hands. The sound of his mother on the other end got quieter as the phone bounced along the floor and away from the grief stricken young man. Jacob’s world was tilted, he couldn’t make sense of what he had just been told. Thoughts spun around his head in a mad attempt to put together the words that had come out of his mother’s mouth.
He looked at the phone as she hung up, the screen going dark and plunging his bedroom into darkness. Sat up against the pillow he could feel sweat dripping down his neck, despite the balmy summer night he felt a cold chill run down his back. What he first thought was sweat dripping down his face was in fact a tear; he felt his face, feeling a stream of tears running down his face. He was crying, sobbing, like a child, desperately clinging to the bedsheets. He brought his feet up and fell against his bed in the foetal position. He cried louder as he dealt with the sudden realisation of his sister’s death.
December 16th – #53. Write about your character coming home from work (what are they thinking about outside of the main plot?)
He closed the door and hung his coat up, thoughts of the stressful day he had just finished still floating around his mind. Wanting to ease the stress he went straight to the kitchen and flicked on the kettle. He glanced at his phone to see the usual missed calls and unended texts from his mum, brother, and best-friend; all sendingt he same message “are you ok?”.
Jacob slammed his phone down on the side harder than he meant. Not wanting to see if the screen had cracked he moved to the fridge to grab the milk His attention was caught by a note on the fridge door, a left over memory that he would rather have not seen just then. Another text pinged on his phone as he continued to stare at the hand-written note from his recently deceased sister, can you grab some milk? He glanced down a the milk in his hands, the sound of sirens blared in his head. He wiped away a tear from his face and went back to the kettle finishing his tea.
Moving from kitchen to living room he unlocked his phone and responded to his best-friend’s text, “I need to get pissed, you about tonight?”
December 17th – #1. Write about a ritual that you/a character goes through (I chose… showering)
The water fell across my back as I turned the shower on. I flinched, always forgetting that the shower needed to heat up before I stepped in. Tentatively I stepped back in, feeling the water now heating up to the right temperature, I cherished the feeling of the warmth hitting my forhead and rushing down my back. I splashed water onto my face, hoping to wake myself up quicker for a day of work.
Reaching for the shower gel and loofa i proceeded to wash away the dry sweat that had covered my body while I slept, well, tried to sleep. For a moment I just looked down, watching the suds run off my body and circle to drain, “I really need to clean this shower” I thought allowed, looking at the marks on the shower door. With a deep intake of breath I brought myself back to finishing the shower, grabbing my cleanser and rubbing it rythmically around my face, I was never sure if it did anything, but it did smell nice.
Then the final act of my ridiculous shower dance, my hair. I could feel the grease and sweat built up in my hair, I couldn’t go another day with it like it was. Shampoo lathered up in my hands I rubbed vigorously at my scalp, cherishing the rough massage I was giving myself.
December 18th – #39. Bullet point a path way of decisions, starting from a character having to get out of bed.
- The doorbell rings – Scott covers his head with the duvet
- The doorbell rings again – Scott begrugingly throws the duvet off and stumbles to the door
- He looks through the door hole, its his ex-husband, Ashton – he ignores the door, leaving the bell to ring again
- The door knocks again – Ashton calls through the door that he knows he is there
- Scott opens the door – Ashton looks annoyed yet comes in
- Ashton asks him to sign the divorce papers – Scott tells him to get out the flat
- Scott wonders whether he should sign or not – he does – he starts to cry – Ashton never returns
- Scott’s friend Letitia asks him to go for drinks – he does – he meets Letitia’s cousin, Paul
- Paul asks him on a date – Scott says no – it upsets Pauls and Letitia
- Letitia asks Scott why he said no – Scott doesn’t answer – Letitia storms out
This weeks has been rather stressful with work, so I’ve found it rather relaxing taking the time out each day to just sit and write for five minutes. I’m clearly starting to see this task working rather well, I feel more inspired to actually sit down and write – while also getting new ideas for the various projects that I have started.