Yesterday, as I was scanning my Facebook feed, I found this article called How to Write Your Best Story Ever With One Epic Exercise by Jennifer Manuel. My curiosity was piqued, and I have to say the article really resonated with me. Basically, she advocates finding a book you enjoy or admire the writing of and copy it out by hand every day before your other writing.
The idea fascinates me. I’ve always thought about how painters learn to paint by copying the masters, but I had never thought to apply this to writing beyond reading good writers. It makes so much sense to me to physically copy out other author’s writing in order to learn from it. It slows us down and makes us pay attention.
And, Manuel sites a tradition of authors copying out other writers to learn their craft, from Robert Louis Stephenson to Benjamin Franklin.
Manuel said that she has been copywriting for a year and has seen stunning results — and has written the best story of her life during this time. I highly suggest visitng Manuel’s page (click on the link in the first paragraph) as she lays out three different ways of practicing copywriting.
So, I’m going to give it a go. I also have had trouble lately getting into the creative flow, so I am hoping that copywriting will help by getting my brain gently into writing mode. Even if I have writer’s block, I can still do something towards my writing, which I love.
I’m going to start with one of Thoreau’s essays from Walden because I think he has interesting sentence structure. I started today and found the exercise soothing and meditative. I’ll keep you updated.