So I have been talking about cross-discipline (cross-media) as a help in creative writing. And I promised some in-the-classroom ideas.
- Feel Free Joy, exercise 86 in Creative Writing: the Matrix, is about getting loads of felt-tip pens, crayons, chalks, and horizontal blank A4 paper (the better for lateral non-thinking) and telling people to just make marks on paper. Just let go, choose whatever colours appeal, change colours and textures, don't make pictures or specifics... It is fantastically fun and freeing... which is how we wish we felt more often when writing.
And if you have the sour-puss student who insists on a reason for doing this (usually because he/she feels inhibited or threatened?): even just doing this is loosening and stimulating. Sometimes we forget to have fun.
- Creativity Doll, from Julia Cameron's The Vein of Gold (1997 ed, Pan Books) pp 127-135. A colleague of mine had a hugely successful Saturday class doing this. She brought, and had students bring in, all sorts of oddments of fabric, buttons, trimmings, wire, string, nuts & bolts, shells, sticks, rocks, wood, old jewellery, magazines et cetera. The idea is to make a 'doll' (or thing) about the lack or the wish or the missing piece or frustration or ideal or hope of creativity (Cameron also suggests a Creativity Monster, about all the negatives). People get engaged, relaxed, have fun, find new energies... and usually discover some new aspect of themselves.
- Instant Productive Crumpled Chaos, requires absolutely no props, except a half-sheet of blank paper (or two). This isn't crossing media actually, but it gives an element of anarchy and urgency that gets results, and fun. Each person writes a word on the blank piece of paper, an object. Crumple up the paper and chuck it onto the floor in the middle of the room (if an open square), or into a basket/bin/bag. [but the tossing onto the floor is the anarchic, loosening part]. Everyone gets up and draws one out. You can repeats this: on another piece of paper, write a first name. Crumple and retrieve again. [If you have two different colours of paper to distribute, then you can do this all in one go.]
Then everyone has a word, or a word and a name and -- write for 5-10 minutes on it! See what you get. Forcing together a name and an object usually brings about the start of a story. Or try two objects. Or... well, you get it.