I created the concept of Power Journals when I taught elementary school. They are writing prompts combining music with story that were beloved by my students. They literally cheered every time I said, "Take out your writer's notebooks; we're going to do a Power Journal!" I can still picture the fist pumping with a whispered, "Yes!" and smiles on my students' faces.
Here is how it works!:
Here is how it works!:
- Play music of any kind (suggestions are below). Songs with few or no words help keep the mind open. Listen to the song once and don't do any writing. Just close your eyes and try to imagine that this song is playing in your own story or movie. Let the music dictate where the story goes, who the characters are, what the setting is, etc. You can change your mind too is something more interesting pops in your head!
- Prepare your notebook. You might want to write the song title and performer/composer so you can remember the inspiration for this writing piece. Get your pen or pencil ready to write!
- Play the song again and this time, WRITE! Write without hesitation. Do not stop to erase, worry about spelling, punctuation or even quality of writing. Just write to get everything in your brain out. You can edit later! No erasers allowed! If you get stuck and can't think of anything to write, write that: "I don't really know what to say. I'm kind of stuck right now..." It may just cause you to think about something to write (maybe your character is literally 'stuck' in something sticky!, for example). Your pen or pencil CANNOT stop until the song is over. If you still need more time, keep going for goodness sake! Get it all out!
- Read back through your writing. Don't make too many edits yet, just enough to make it read-able.
- Share your writing. If several people write to the same music, you'll be surprised how different and sometimes how similar the writing can be.
- Turn this little bit of writing into a full length story or move on to something else. It's your writing, you can take it where IT wants to go.
Music Suggestions (in random order):
- Vivaldi's Four Seasons
- Bela Fleck and the Flecktones: Live Art (any!)
- Paul Simon's Rhythm of the Saints, The Obvious Child
- Mascagni, Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana
- Inkari (Peruvian music)
- Gustav Mahler (especially the dark songs)
- Devil's Trill
- Anything that moves YOU!