Pen to Paper Newsletter

Pen to Paper: P2

Presented below is a thought from me on writing, a quote from someone else on writing, an excerpt from that writer, and a discipline/habit to implement…

Happy Independence Day!

A Thought

Putting pen to a blank paper, typing to a blank screen, or brush to a blank canvas, is one of the bravest actions you can take as a creative. 

Austin Alford

A Quote

“A man is a fool not to put everything he has, at any given moment, into what he is creating.”

– Author Frank Herbert (writer of DUNE)

An Excerpt

Chapter 1, Pages 1-2 of DUNE, from Frank Herbert

In the week before their departure to Arrakis, when all the final scurrying about had reached a nearly unbearable frenzy, an old crone came to visit the mother of the boy, Paul.

    It was a warm night at Castle Caladan, and the ancient pile of stone that had served the Atreides family as home for twenty-six generations bore that cooled-sweat feeling it acquired before a change in the weather.

    The old woman was let in by the side door down the vaulted passage by Paul’s room and she was allowed a moment to peer in at him where he lay in his bed.

    By the half-light of a suspensor lamp, dimmed and hanging near the floor, the awakened boy could see a bulky female shape at his door, standing one step ahead of his mother. The old woman was a witch shadow—hair like matted spiderwebs, hooded ’round darkness of features, eyes like glittering jewels.

    “Is he not small forhis age, Jessica?” the old woman asked. Her voice wheezed and twanged like an untuned baliset.

    Paul’s mother answered in her soft contralto: “The Atreides are known to start late getting their growth, Your Reverence.”

    “So I’ve heard, so I’ve heard,” wheezed the old woman. “Yet he’s already fifteen.”

    “Yes, Your Reverence.”

    “He’s awake and listening to us,” said the old woman. “Sly little rascal.” She chuckled. “But royalty has need of slyness. And if he’s really the Kwisatz Haderach … well….”

    Within the shadows of his bed, Paul held his eyes open to mere slits. Two bird-bright ovals—the eyes of the old woman—seemed to expand and glow as they stared into his.

    “Sleep well, you sly little rascal,” said the old woman. “Tomorrow you’ll need all your faculties to meet my gom jabbar.”

A Discipline/Habit to Implement

Introducing the 5 Minute Rule!

Now, you might be wondering what on earth this is all about. Well, as writers, we often find ourselves fixated on how much time it takes to produce something truly remarkable.

Let’s say you’re getting ready to head off to work in just 15 minutes.

You’ve already completed your morning or afternoon routine to prepare for the day ahead.

Instead of wasting those precious moments scrolling through social media (not that everyone does this, of course), why not give the 5 Minute Rule a try?

Grab your trusty journal, a sheet of paper, or open up a Google Doc or Word Document, and set a timer for just 5 minutes. Immerse yourself in the mind of one of your characters and jot down something they would say or feel.

Alternatively, if you’re a songwriter, take a look at the chorus of your song and brainstorm ideas on how to enrich it with a captivating second verse.

Here’s the thing: you don’t need a massive chunk of time like 30, 60, 90, or even 120 minutes to create something extraordinary. By making the most of those small pockets of time you have, you can achieve incredible results!

So go ahead, give the 5 Minute Rule a shot. You won’t believe what you can accomplish in just a few short minutes!

Put Pen to Paper this week and have fun!

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-Austin Alford

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