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Thursday Pick & Mix (#2)

Image of a fancy bowl held out in cupped hands. The bowl is filled with delicious looking, foil-wrapped sweets.

Welcome to the second Thursday Pick & Mix challenge. How did things go for you last week? Did you find your imagination freed, and scribble happily for the full ten minutes? Or did you stare at the various prompts, feel under an inexplicable amount of pressure, panic, and go off to clean the kitchen instead?

Please don't worry if it was the second one. I had this reaction a couple of times when I was starting, and I think it ultimately came back to that sense of being expected to write once again, to produce words, to be creative on demand.

If you still want to take part, it might help to remember that no one, not even you, ever has to read these words. The point is not to spontaneously produce a heart-breaking work of staggering genius, just like that. It doesn't matter what you write, and it doesn't matter if it's 'good' by anyone else's measure. The idea is literally just to have a fun and joyful ten minutes of writing. Be silly, if that helps. Interpret the prompt or prompts you've chosen in the most ridiculous, far-fetched way possible.

And promise yourself that you will follow the few rules I've laid down:

  • Use any mixture of the prompts that you like. One of them, two, all three - even none (you maverick, you).

  • Write for ten minutes. Ten. No more and no less. If you're the type who anxiously watches the clock or checks her watch (like me) then set a timer and put it out of sight but in earshot.

  • Don't edit or revise what you're writing while you are writing. Just don't. If writing longhand, put your palm or a piece of paper over the lines as you scribble them. If writing onscreen, set the font to the same colour as the page so that it's invisible. So what if you make typos or spelling mistakes? It doesn't matter! Laugh at them and keep going.

  • Once your ten minutes are up, please, please give yourself the grace of walking away. Don't read what you've written straight away. Leave it as long as you can - long enough that you might remember it with a little start of surprise and pleasure and go back to it in a spirit of curiosity without expectation - or may even feel that need to read it, judge it, evaluate it for it's worth and try to 'fix' it, evaporate entirely. If no one ever reads your ten minute scribbles, it doesn't matter one tiny single bit.

With that out of the way, I think we're ready to begin.



"Jubilations of darkness."

Get writing. I wish you joy.

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