Coffee Writing 001: Method

Andrei Marks · February 6, 2013

One more meta post before starting the daily exercise. I had to think of a way to make sure this writing exercise stays fresh for me, especially if I’m doing it every day.

Step 1: The first few minutes should be spent marveling at the drivel you wrote the previous day, and then the next few minutes should be spent repenting and fixing what you can.

Step 2: You find your topic of the day.

Initially I imagined I’d simply write about whatever I’d been thinking about since the previous exercise, anything I thought might be interesting to write about. Or more importantly, any notion on which I’d already actually opined on in my head. This isn’t bad, but I can’t promise myself I’ll always have something ready to write about. There are plenty of times I could come up empty, and I don’t want to spend my spare moments excruciating myself about what I want to say if I don’t have anything that immediately comes to mind. Though there is a lot to be said for that sort of mental preparation. But I’ve got other things to do with that time.

So I’ve settled on a randomized method of finding a topic. I think this might also be a little difficult, as I’ll have to brainstorm content on the spot, but I think that should be the point of this exercise. It should force me to write about something new, or at least exercise my ability to make connections between some older idea of mine and something new.

Step 2 continued: Hit the random page button on Wikipedia. You get, at maximum, a pool of five random pages. For instance, the five random topics I just pulled up were: Caproni Sauro (I could write about flying or travel), Saibara (I could write about Japanese culture, my East Asian travels, or Chinese opera), PhpGraphy (I could write about photography, or coding), Eugenio, Count of Villafranca (I could write about aristocracy or heredity), and Andrey Ershov (I could write about computer science or scientists, or Russian even). Of course, I reserve the right to write about whatever I want if the need for it does come up.

Step 3: Write.

Step 4: Proofread.

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