This is an excerpt from my 21 day journaling course. The rest of the program is decidedly less profane.
There are times when regular candyass prompts just won’t do.
When your apathy has you by the short and curlies and you just can’t get yourself to feel like doing anything, you need an exercise with some hair on its chest.
An exercise that snatches the lollipop from your resistance’s fist and deepthroats it.
Numbness, you ain’t no match for…
F*ck this manifesto
Before I get into the actual exercise, I need to give credit where it’s due.
I first came across this exercise in a fabulous Edgy Writing workshop led by the deliciously strange Tracey Waddleton. Tracey isn’t just a brilliant writer, she’s an exceptional teacher and I was very fortunate to have been her student.
She introduced our class to the manifesto as a sort of evil icebreaker. And boy did it work!
We grinned while we wrote it and when she asked us to take turns reading ours out loud, we were all cackling so hard that I was crying by the end.
Tracey, in her turn, says she was deeply inspired by fellow writerly Newfoundlander, Joel Hynes (you can see him performing his manifesto out loud here – though fair warning, every other word is an f-bomb). Tracey borrowed his idea to use as a writing exercise.
I’m simply paying it forward by bringing it to you. It was conceived by minds more twisted than mine.
Here’s what you do.
Set a 5 minute timer.
Start writing and begin every sentence with the word “Fuck”.
Literary, I know.
But here’s the depraved part: you have to complete the sentence with things you hate and things you love.
An exuberant effed up cocktail of f*ckery.
Allow me to demonstrate:
Fuck staying up so late. Fuck going to bed on time. Fuck discipline, it’s so tedious. Fuck all that delicious thinking time on the metro. Fuck that sandwich and especially fuck that chipotle mayo. Fuck Costco. Yeah, family-sized fucks. Fuck writing exercises that make you think. Fuck all these brilliant writers and poets. Fuck cats. Fuck thyroids. Fuck needing glasses. Fuck, how good does this pen feel on paper. Fuck my fountain pen addiction. Fuck the fact that my bottle is empty and I’m still thirsty. Fuck bodies and all their insatiable appetites. Fuck the person who didn’t Zoom into this class. Fuck, how am I going to find time to do these fucking homework assignments?! Fuck homeschooling and motherhood and adulting in general. Fuck cats. No wait, I already said that. Fuck me and my perfectionism for trying to make this stupid manifesto make sense. Fuck logic. If you have a plan or think you do, you’re in for a fucking surprise. Fuck endings.
This prompt is the equivalent of having a dance party with your resistance.
And also of experiencing the true ambivalence of our feelings – even our positive ones – because in a sense we’re made up of many selves all vying for the steering wheel (read my post about my imaginary evil twin).
I’m imagining there’s at least one of you who is horrified and can’t bring yourself to write the word “fuck” so many times.
The whole point is to thumb your nose at the rules, but if you need to take a baby step, google synonyms for fuck and run with something that appeals to you.
I personally loved “hump”.
In fact, “hump” might be even funnier.
You’ll have to excuse me while I go experiment with it.
Meanwhile, I hope you enjoyed this post. Bookmark it for any time you need to show your resistance or apathy who’s boss.
And if you’d like some non-cheesy battle-tested journaling advice that will enrich and expand your understanding of what journaling can be (even if you never develop a habit), you’ll love my 21-day journaling course. It’s designed to help your creativity, introspection and intellect have a lovechild. You’re welcome!