Start With Squiggles

by Nancy Casey

When you have a writing practice, it doesn’t really matter what you write. The only thing that matters is that you fill up the page. Sometimes you will startle yourself with how brilliant you are. Other times you will say, “Meh. Why am even doing this?”

Even a lackluster page is a good page because you mind is working in the background, rolling over what you did and didn’t write, knitting the details together and making you a little bit more grounded.

For today’s writing, you will start with nonsense and see where it might take you.

What writing could be more nonsensical than random squiggles?

Draw a line at the top of the page where your title will go. Then scatter a half dozen or so random squiggles evenly across the page.

Do any of them remind you of anything? A face? A bunny? A puddle? A shoe?

Pick one of the squiggles and add something to it. You could put more lines to complete the drawing. Or give it a cartoon bubble so it can say something. Or write what it is (or isn’t) next to it.

Do this for each one of the squiggles.

If you have a squiggle that is absolutely meaningless to you, add another squiggle to it and see if it turns into anything.

Don’t think very hard. Just keep messing around until your page is full.

Maybe you will end up with a page that has people or objects talking to each other. Maybe each tiny drawing will be its own masterpiece. Maybe your page will look like spaghetti with worms. Perhaps you will like some parts more than others. It doesn’t really matter.

What matters is that you sat down with your writing materials and filled up a page.

Look over the whole page. Keep adding to the drawings or writing more words until something occurs to you that somehow connects everything together. That will be your title. Or the idea for your title. Write a title at the top of the page along with the date.

Take a moment to think about what this writing was like. We easily recognize “writing” when we see a wall of orderly words on a page. This page shows you how writing can be random and disorderly, too.

Whatever you write, you mind will keep working on it, creating order, making sense, and reminding you who you are.

Even after you put the page away. Even when you are asleep.

Here is an example of what someone could write.

You can share your work by posting it as a comment below. You can type it in, or take a photo of it and upload the image.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. She occasionally teaches a Write-For-You class at the Recovery Center. For more information about classes and writing certificates, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

 

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