This isn't me, but it COULD be most days. This photo is by makelessnoise and I found it on Flickr!

Like I mentioned in my bio, I was an English and biology double major in college.  There was one upper level English class that formed the basis for my writing critique style.  It was an Analytical Poetry class.  I don’t mind admitting that this class kicked my butt. The professor was this Insane Poet Lady who cried over poems that were virtually incomprehensible to me.  She also wrote, and has since published, a collection of her own poems, many of which I also thought were total gibberish.

One interesting thing about this class was that it was three hours long.  Six o’clock until nine o’clock one night a week.  By the third hour, brain exhaustion took over.  Gibberish started to have at least a little bit of meaning and some of the oddest stuff just flew out of my mouth.  The professor said that she loved teaching three hour classes for just that reason.

Recently, I remembered the madness of the three hour poetry class and it led me to question the time of day that I work on my book.  I mentioned in an earlier post that I liked to get up early and write in the morning before I go to work.  It’s my freshest time and I feel like I’m giving my best to my writing.  But then I thought, maybe a little exhaustion would change the way my writing sounds and feels.  Maybe, if I was punchy it would give my writing a little more punch.

So, I gave it a try.

Wow.  Just wow.  I was a little stuck in my manuscript and trying to put off working on it until I had a bit of energy.  I gave up on that idea.  I purposely sat down in front of my computer at the end of an extra long work day when I was sleep deprived and just let myself write.  The next morning, after correcting the spelling errors, abysmal grammar, and a couple of really funny logical errors, I realized that I liked what I had written.  It was more honest and raw.  There was less self-censorship.  It had a completely different feel.

So I offer this as a writing challenge.  Try writing when you’re at your worst–particularly if you’re at a bumpy place in your work in progress.  See if it doesn’t open up some subconscious well of creativity you didn’t even know you had.  And let me know how it works for you!

P.S.  I will always love Insane Poet Lady because she introduced me to Mark Strand.  I’m pretty picky about my poetry but this stuff is just strange enough to be interesting.

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