Terry Wolverton is a literary artist who has published ten books of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, most recently Wounded World; lyric essays about our spiritual disquiet. She has also edited fourteen literary anthologies. She is the founder of Writers At Work, a creative writing srudio in Los Angeles where she also teaches, and is Affiliate Faculty in the MFA Writing Program at Antioch University Los Angeles. She is also a certified instructor of Kundalini Yoga. http://terrywolverton.com
The origins of this writing exercise derive from Deena Metzger, who described it as "writing faster than you can think" and also Natalie Goldberg, who has used a similar technique as a writing meditation. The term "fevered writing" was coined by a former student of mine, the poet Yvette Beltran. This exercise asks you to write without thinking first about what will come out of you. You put the pen on the page, set the timer (for 3 minutes, or 5 minutes) and go. The goal is to keep the pen moving without stopping to think. I like to work from a prompt, the more nonsensical or the more unlike things I think about in my daily life, the better. You can use the prompts people post here on this blog, or you can pull a few words out of a book. Don't over-determine it. The prompt is not your topic; it just provides a few words you can then bounce off of (think of it as your trampoline.) Let go of any need to make sense, to spell correctly, to stick to any kind of subject, to write in complete sentences. Let the words pour through and surprise you as they manifest on the page. The idea is to bypass the linear brain and access the creative brain. If you are writing on lined paper, turn the page sideways so you can't write in the lines. (I have seen people do this on computer and even on their phones, but I personally advocate for the kinetic experience of writing by hand.) You can use this exercise in several ways: 1) use it as a warm-up exercise to blow the crust off your mind and begin to access a more imaginative voice; 2) go back into what you've written and pull out a phrase or line that resonates for you and use that as the beginning of a new piece of writing; 3) do several rounds of fevered writing and see how you might begin to connect them in a new piece of writing; 4) disarticulate several rounds of fevered writing and use it as a lexicon to write a new poem, as I am doing with these poems. Enjoy!
Join 2,569 other subscribers