The Cure for Literary Laryngitis in 300 Words

Unleashing Me suggested a writing exercise on April 19th:

“Pick an object sitting on your table and write a description of it in 300 words, in your voice. Make it beautiful. Make that description sing. I don’t care if the object is a dry, cracked pen that needs an ink refill and has lint all stuck on the front of it, make those 300 words sound fantastic and showcase your voice to the world!”

This is the result of that exercise.


My phone, settled beside me on the bed, rests silently as I type away rather noisily. Dreaming of electric sheep and satellites in the sky, it lies in peaceful dormancy. I let it alone for now. The sleek, black device has been through many a trial and none too few a tribulation. He’s seen the world fall toward him one too many a time. Chips and nicks are the telltale signs of misuse, neglect, and mindlessness. The way the light hits it at the moment reveals a slick canvas of long strokes and short smudges. And yet, the phone does not whine. It does not moan and groan and rail against me. He remains quiet until summoned.

Ah, a jolt. With a vibration, ring, and a flash of the screen, the phone suffers a night terror and shows me what he saw. “What are you doing right now?” it reads. I slide the message away and let the phone sleep again. Seeing the evidence of my greasy fingers on the screen makes me uneasy. Irrationally, I slide my thumb flatly against the screen, top to bottom in very human lines. It’s no less greasy now, but at least the grease strokes are uniform.

Microsoft tried to make a phone to compete with the iPhone and the Galaxy. My phone is the product of their noble attempt, noble in the consumerist court. “Sleek” was a misleading word. Samsung clearly did not spend as much time on this Windows phone as they did on the Galaxy. The corners are far too sharp and boring. This cannot even hold a AAA-powered light to the even newer Windows phones, mobile devices that actually had a design department. But here my phone lies, in resumed sleep, a beta test of a supposed smartphone. Oh, another text.


I think that may have been a word or two over 300, but the more the merrier, eh? Thanks again, Unleashing Me, for the prompt. If you’re looking for some inspiration, try it out for yourself!

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The Obligatory NaNoWriMo Announcement Blog Post Thingy

If you’ve been even remotely near any writerly circles on the Interwebs (which you likely have since you’re on a WordPress site), you know what this post is going to be about. No M. Night Shyamalan twist. No revolutionary authorial innovation. As of the publishing of this article, it is October 31st, what most consider to be date of All Hallow’s Eve, but what amateur writers know to be as…

THE DAY BEFORE NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH.

(Also known as “The Last Day of Restful Sleep,” “The Beginning of the Great Annual November Coffee Flood,” “Descent into Insanity,” and “The Day of Slamming Doors into Trick-or-Treaters’ Faces in Favor of Last Minute Plotstorming” – among others.)

If you are indeed reading this on Halloween Day, this means there is less than 24 hours before the start of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for those in the kNoW (See what I did there?… Oh God, the descent has already started.)

For those of you not cool enough to have known about this, here is a rundown of what exactly NaNo is:

  • Goal: Write a story at least 50,000 words long by the end of November – this amounts to at least 1,667 words a day on average
  • No starting before November and you lose if you don’t finish by November 30, 11:59:59 pm
  • Just kidding, this isn’t the writers’ Hunger Games
  • Kiss your bed goodbye for the next month
  • Stock up on coffee and trail mix
  • If you’re a student (like me), your grades will suffer
  • The point is to leave your perfectionism at the door and simply writeyou can edit it it all in December when you’re done
  • Sign up on the official website to meet fellow NaNo-ers, read and contribute great advice, and just have a ton of fun. Writing nerds unite!
  • Also, it’s NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) – self-explanatory. Those attempting to do both NaNo and NaBlo at the same time should be committed to a mental asylum.

I’ve attempted the NaNo shenanigans a couple of times – did not meet the goal either times. What I found was my greatest problem was a lack of purpose or end goal. I recently spoke to a friend of mine and he gave me the most mindblowingly simple, yet extraordinary advice I had ever heard pertaining to writing: start with your ending.

*head explodes*

Perhaps you’ve thought of this before and you systematically do this when writing long stories, but I had never thought to do this before. This was perfect! Create your ending, so that you have a target to aim at whilst furiously scribbling/typing away. It doesn’t matter where your tangentify your story off to, you can always bring it back around to where you wanted it to end. And of course, the end can evolve as you delve further into your story, and the evolution is made that much easier because you had a place to start. While you are the author, you’re still not some god – you cannot make something come from absolutely nothing.

With this advice in mind… I still have no idea what the hell I have to write about. Oh well, I still have *glances at clock*…

Sonofabitch.

NaNoWriMo Participant Cover

Have you participated in NaNoWriMo? How did it go? Will you be participating this year? If you’re a fellow student, how are you going to balance school work, NaNo and procrasterbation time? How many gallons of caffeination will you drink this month? Good luck!

I’ve registered on the site as stressingoutstudent, so feel free to add me as a writing buddy!

Pep talks, funnies, and more NaNo info:

Think Pink Thursday #1: “A Tiny Conundrum”

Welcome to the experimental first round of Think Pink Thursday, where I give you a theme, a clue, and a Think Pink for you to figure out. First person to post the correct answer in the comments gets a feature on this blog! (Sorry, too broke to give away any cool prizes). If this becomes popular enough, we can play this weekly.

Think Pink - Tag, you're it Banner

How to Play

1. Think of a two-part rhyming phrase. Number of syllables have to be equal in each part. (Ex: cattle battle, Knickerbocker liquor locker)

2. Signify how many syllables your phrase has total:

  • 2 syllables = think pink (Ex: fat cat)
  • 4 syllables = thinky pinky (Ex: cattle battle)
  • 6 syllables = thinkity pinkity (Ex: resident president)
  • 8 syllables = thinkiditty pinkiditty (Ex: Knickerbocker liquor locker), etc.

3. Give a creative clue as to what the phrase is (Ex: cattle battle: “A violent altercation among bovine”)

4. Copy these rules and the Think Pink banner and paste them in your post – share and have fun!


This week’s theme is Mystery. Come up with a Think Pink related to Mystery and share it on your blog.

My phrase this week is a thinky pinky and the clue is in the title of this post. As always, have fun, and if you think you’ve figured it out, post it in the comments below!

It’s Friday, Let’s Freewrite

The clock in the bottom right corner of my screen just changed from 12:43 AM to 12:44 AM, the result of a few lines of code marking arbitrary time. As I sit here wondering why I am still awake and why I haven’t attempted to shut down my computer, I look around at the random paraphernalia of my life: books, shelves, plants, clothes, guitar, cords, bags, clock… There’s that time again, except that clock is set four minutes faster than my watch (which actually reads the same time as the clock in he bottom right corner of my screen – down to the second).

The little autosave message at the bottom right corner of  my textbox informs me that a draft of this post was saved at 12:48:20 am. And it just saved again at 12:49:20 am. What does it mean.

If I sit quietly enough, I can hear the faint ticking of my watch. I sometimes hear it at night when I rest my hand under my head to sleep. It’s either soothing or disturbing or it’s not even there, depending on the day, depending on how tired I am. Recently, the insomnia’s been at it again, poking and prodding and nudging, too tired to go to sleep, too conscious to stay awake. What am I writing.

This is stupid. Time… Time for sleep.

Word Game: “Springing Up on a Wednesday”

Rhymes, riddles, Scrabble, Green Glass Door… Who doesn’t like a good word game?

Here’s a word game for everyone who enjoys all of the above. Good for passing the time, whilst working the Broca gears in that sharp noggin of yours (and whoever you’re going up against).

Think Pink - Stressing Out College

Players: It requires at least two people to play.

Time limit: Usually it’s just however long it takes for the person to guess the answer, but you can add a time limit if you folks are up to it.

Rules:

Think of a two-part phrase, where one part rhymes with the other part.

Let’s pick “cattle battle.”

Inform your opponent(s) how many syllables your phrase has by following the “Think Pink” formula:

1 syllable per part = Think Pink

2 syllables per part = Thinky Pinky

3 syllables per part = Thinkity Pinkity

4 syllables per part = Thinkiditty Pinkiditty

etc.

For “cattle battle,” you would tell your opponent(s) that you are thinking of a “Thinky Pinky.”

Finally, give them a creative clue for them to figure out what your phrase is.

(“Cattle battle”): A violent altercation among bovine.

And there you have it. Really dig deep into those creativity centers for your clues. Make them obscure, make them funny, make them long-winded – but keep them fair. Be creative with both the clues and the Think Pinks.

Can you figure out the “Think Pink” that I’ve put in this post? Check out the title of the post for the clue. The first person to guess it will get a feature on this blog in an upcoming post!

Get it, got it, good? Can you think of some Think Pinks for us to figure out? Post them in the comments or even post them on your blog. (And link back to this post for the rules). Share in the nerdtastic wordgasm!