I'm not sure if it's the time of year, the time of life or the HRT I'm currently taking for the menopause but I seem to be in a clearing-out mood at the moment. I have all this energy that I've not had for years and nothing is safe any more, especially if it's been languishing in a cupboard for far longer than it probably should have done.
Writing is not escaping this "new broom" feeling either and I recently dismantled the notebook containing writing exercises that I kept in my handbag. I kept it in my handbag because I used to go into town a lot, sometimes several times a week, and write in coffee shops and cafes. The notebook was very useful for helping to kick-start my writing, especially when the lure of a second cappuccino and another chocolate eclair seemed too difficult to resist.
I thought it might be good if I shared a few of these exercises with you. Of course, you don't need to go into a coffee shop or cafe to try them. They are great for doing anywhere or anytime. And please don't be put off by the word "exercises". We're not talking mental aerobics here. They are just prompts, really. A fun way of getting some words down on paper, that may or may not lead to something which you could incorporate into a longer piece or which might work as the first draft of a stand-alone item.
So here we go.
1. You are sitting in a coffee shop or cafe and a mysterious man or woman walks by and hands you a piece of paper. They leave before you get a chance to read it. What does it say? What do you do? Who were they?
2. Choose ten people you know and write a one-sentence description for each of them.
3. You acquire the ability to change in size. How do you use this power?
4. Write "The trouble with..." in the middle of a piece of paper and then brainstorm your ideas.
5. You go into a room and discover a cupboard that you have never noticed before. What do you find when you open the cupboard door?
6. Pick an object that you can see in front of you and describe it to a blind person.
7. Open a book or a newspaper at random and select the first noun you see. Repeat with two more random pages. Now write a piece of flash fiction (maximum 150 words) that includes all three nouns in the order in which you found them.