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A tool for writers

A tool for writers

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  • 1. Clustering: A Writer’s Tool Writers need ways to come up with topics. Here is one way to experiment with.
  • 2.
    • The gift of insight—of making imaginative new connections—is there for anyone who persists, experiments, and explores.
    • Marilyn Ferguson
  • 3.
    • In most lives insight has been accidental. We wait for it as primitive man awaited lightning for a fire. But making mental connections is our most crucial learning tool.
  • 4.
    • The essence of human intelligence is to forge links; to go beyond the given; to see patterns, relationships and context.
            • Marilyn Ferguson
  • 5.
    • Creation is inherently relational—there cannot be creation without interconnection.
            • Charles Johnson, M.D.
  • 6. Novelist, master teacher John Gardner said:
    • Writers need some magic key for getting in touch with their secret reserves of imaginative power.
    • What we lack is not ideas but a direct means of getting in touch with them.
  • 7.
    • Clustering is one such magic key.
    • It can be one of the crucial first steps for bypassing our logical, orderly Sign-mind consciousness to touch the mental life of daydream, random thought, remembered incident, image, or sensation
  • 8.
    • Clustering can be a magic key to natural writing.
  • 9. What is clustering?
    • It is a nonlinear brainstorming process akin to free association.
  • 10.
    • It makes an invisible design process visible through a nonlinear spilling out of lightning associations that allows patterns to emerge.
  • 11. What are the results of clustering?
    • We naturally come up with a multitude of choices from a part of our mind where the experiences of a lifetime mill and mingle.
  • 12. The Writer’s tool, Clustering accepts:
    • Wondering
    • Not-knowing
    • Seeming chaos
    • The unknown
    • The writer maps an interior language as ideas begin to emerge.
  • 13. Trust in the process…
    • It is okay not to know
    • Wondering is the natural state at the beginning of all creative acts, as recent brain research shows.
  • 14. How to create a cluster:
    • Begin with a nucleus word, circled on a fresh page.
    • Let go and begin to flow with any current of connections that come into your head.
    • Write rapidly, each in its own circle, radiating outward from the center in any direction they want to go.
  • 15. Frustration
    • As you cluster, you may experience a sense of randomness, or, if your are somewhat skeptical, an uneasy sense that it isn’t leading anywhere.
  • 16.
    • That is your logical mind wanting to get into the act to let you know how foolish you are being by not setting thoughts down in logical sequences.
    • Trust this natural process.
  • 17.
    • There is no right or wrong way to cluster.
    • Just try and see if it works for you.
  • 18.
    • Your mind knows where it is heading, even if you don’t.
    • Your creative mind has a wisdom of its own, shaping ends you can’t really evaluate yet.
    • This wisdom has nothing to do with logic.
  • 19.
    • Simply begin to write; the writing takes over and writes itself.
  • 20.
    • The technique of clustering gives you access to the patterns and associations of your Design mind.
  • 21. What does clustering provide?
    • 1. Choices from which to formulate and develop your thought
    • 2. A focus meaningful enough to impel you to write.
  • 22. Quote from a student:
    • Clustering brings to my mind truths I may have lost sight of.
  • 23.
    • Continue to cluster for two to three minutes or until you experience a shift from randomness to a sense that you have something to write about.
  • 24.
    • Now take out a clean sheet of paper and begin writing about what idea or vignette or pattern came about from the clustering. Write in a free manner. It is only a draft. See where this takes you.
  • 25. A basic technique of natural writing
    • Clustering, the basic technique of natural writing, can be use to:
    • Generate ideas for writing of:
    • Fiction, poems, essays, business reports, song lyrics, even novels.
  • 26.
    • Although it is human nature to resist the unfamiliar, the unconventional, give clustering a chance.
  • 27.
    • Don’t prematurely bring down the curtain on a process that is certain to produce enormous changes in your writing, your attitude toward writing, and your assessment of your own creative powers.
  • 28.
    • In making the invisible process of your Design mind visible through clustering, you avail yourself of the rich array of choices on which natural writing thrives.
      • Gabriele Rico, Ph.D. is a professor of English and creative arts at San Jose State University. She lives in Chicago.