There are lots of routines that I want to try out but if I tried every one I would never get anything done though. I do not have an MFA but there are various ways to recreate a DIY approach. There is even a book: DIYMFA. One of the leaders of this idea is one of my writing heroes, Ray Bradbury.
The ‘Bradbury Trio’ in Ray Bradbury’s own words:
“I’ll give you a programme to follow every night. Very simple programme. For the next thousand nights, before you go to bed every night, read one short story. That will take you ten minutes, fifteen minutes. Okay? Then read one poem a night from the vast history of poetry. Stay away from most modern poems. It’s crap. It’s not poetry. Now, if you want to kid yourself and write lines that look like poems, go ahead and do it, but you’ll go nowhere. But read the great poets. Go back and read Shakespeare, read Alexander Pope, read Robert Frost. But one poem a night, one short story a night, one essay a night, for the next 1,000 nights.”
There is a great explanation of this idea at Benjamin’s Blog.Benjamin has an inspiring video of Bradbury on this post as well you want to check out. I have watched it several times.
Yesterday, I decided to follow this program. Several writers I know participate in this process. I cannot time wise do it everyday but for the next month my goal is to accomplish the Trio 3 times a week. 1000 nights is over 2.7 years!
Essay: “The Joy of Writing” by Bradbury Zen in the Art of Writing
Essay: “The Rules of Writing Practice” Natalie Goldberg Wild Mind
Flash Fiction: 1000 Cranes Melissa McCracken
Short Story: “Findings and Impressions” by Stellar Kim Best American Short Stories (BASS) 2007
Poem: “Knives” by Michael Stephens
Poem: “The Chairs That No One Sits In” Billy Collins
The idea of gathering with a group of people with these three readings as a topic excites me too! The Knives poem is what inspired my writing the most yesterday. I also am going to play with the format of the Kim story.
Clearly, I get caught up and cannot just read one of each! How does this practice resonate with you? What are your thoughts about it? Please share in the comments.