This is the second part of my reflections on a creative writing workshop I attended on Saturday 29th September. For the first post, please click HERE.

Exercise Five: Using Clustering (Mindmapping) to fuel creativity

As a teacher who often uses clustering (or ‘mindmapping’) to deconstruct complex issues or visually represent information, it was interesting and challenging to use the same process in a creative way. Similar to word association, there was no restriction on the connections you could make from a central idea – in this case ‘Dream’ – and once you had a ‘lightbulb’ moment, you could begin writing. The product could be anything: a poem, prose, dialogue, description, anything. 

Here is the image of my clustering:

Clustering Dream
This is the result of about 5 minutes of ‘clustering’ – freethinking word association from a central idea out. Any word or phrase that you think of should be noted down regardless of how loosely connected they are.

And here is the result:

The tide of your memory washes in, then out. I stand in the same spot, but sometimes I am far away, sometimes close. You sleep and dream and when you awake, you may see a young boy, a father, an old man. Your eyes close and dreams become real – your tide washes away and all I can do is hope, some days, that you wash back to me. The photos on your shelf don’t change, but the people do.

Feedback: Much more ‘right brain’. Now I’m on the right track.

Exercise Six: Clustering from a letter (M)

The aim of this activity was to further distance ourselves from an analytical, left-brain thinking process and expand our minds to the possibilities of creative thought. Starting with just a letter, we were to write a piece based on the new cluster. 

The image from my clustering:

M Cluster
This is the resulting image of my clustering for approximately 5 minutes on the letter M. The historian in me certainly got his say.

Here is the result:

Turn once, it is a number or another letter. Turn twice, the start point of a compass. To some a year and an indication of heaven and rapture. Stamped, carved, etched and scribed on stone and paper and wood. Looking, watching, silent but always speaking to those who catch its eye meaning. Some fight over my what it says and might say while others stride past and into their future.

Feedback: Definitely hitting it now. Goodbye left brain!

Handy definition: Metaphor

“Metaphors consist of images connected to something they literally cannot be.”

Metaphors dramatically expand our ordinary (limited) sign-minded meanings and give depth, colour and flavour.

In the case of teaching someone to ski: be like hot fudge sliding down a mountain of ice cream.

Up next…characterisation and dialogue. And you’ll also get a hint into a little story I’m working on.

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