Join date: May 2002
475 IQ
Object Writing
by: Dutch_Apples

Are you finding yourself in another ?Writer?s Block?? Do you think your lyrics lack imagery? Do your songs lack details? These are common problems all songwriters face, but there is a method to get yourself out of a rut and improve your writing. This is called Object Writing.

Object Writing is an exercise in which you start writing about one object and lead to other objects and places using all senses to display imagery. Lyricist and Berklee College of Music professor, Pat Pattison popularized this method. For detail on the subject, check out his book ?Writing Better Lyrics.? The first chapter is about Object Writing. In this article, I will go over the basics and give my own input on the subject.

You can start this exercise by picking any object you can think of. This could be anything in the room you are in: chair, desk, computer, plant, and painting. It could be something outside: back porch, mailbox, and swimming pond. It does not matter what the object is. The important thing is how you relate your senses to the object and the imagery you get out of it. You do not have to stay on the same object. For instance, suppose I?m going start with ?Church Bell? as an object. Already I?m thinking about hearing the church bell ring to start Sunday service and that the church is having a luncheon afterwards where people will be eating chicken. Chickens were raised on a farm and now I?m seeing a man driving a tractor down a dirt road. It reminds me of the area I grew up where there were dirt roads leading to apple orchards that my kindergarten class used to take field trips to. Within a few sentences I have went from Church Bell to my kindergarten class.

You don?t have to make a story out of Object Writing. It doesn?t have to make any ?sense? at all. Don?t even think about rhyming. Just try to include as many senses as possible that relate to what you are talking about. When I think of the word ?Flower? I can smell it, touch it, see it, but I probably won?t taste it. Use your imagination and anything is possible. It helps to write the name of the senses at the top of your paper or document file before you start. They are but not limited to: Touch, Taste, Sight, Smell, Sound, and Kinetic (how your body relates to the object.)

Object Writing should be done in intervals of 10 minutes. When the timer goes off you stop writing no matter how much you have finished or if you are in the middle of writing a word. You can also do shorter versions in 5 minutes with the same rules applied. For serious writers, it is recommended that you do it every day for 10 minutes in the morning. Most people have 10 minutes to spare in the morning and if not, you could always get up 10 minutes early! Doing this in morning also gets your creative juices flowing so if you write lyrics later that day it will help you. If you write your lyrics on paper, get a composition notebook just for Object Writing. Leave the first few pages blank and then log your entries daily. If you read it back to yourself and find a line you like that you think you could put in a song, write it in the front of the book. If you write on your computer just make a file dedicated to ideas and lines that came from Object Writing.

There are many professional songwriters who still do Object Writing. John Mayer and Gillian Welch have used this method. There are also some groups of songwriters in Nashville I have heard of who will do Object Writing for 3 hours (in 10 minute intervals). Every Sunday, they will have a pot luck and read each other what they wrote. Object Writing in groups is a lot of fun and is educational. With a group of people you can start with the same object and no one will end the same. You can also see each other?s writing style and how they approach ideas. Without further ado, let?s try one:

I?m going to pick an object at random. As of writing this, I have not done this object before and will not edit what I write. Everything you will see here was written at the moment. Set your timer for 10 minutes. Share your writing here after you are finished. The object is ?Poker Table? Go:

A group of friends gather around the poker table on Saturday night to play a few games and enjoy the sweet taste of beer. A few cherry-scented cigars are light which are from Cuba. Fidel Castro?s beard looks very dirty and he could probably use a trim. Old barbershops with the creamy warm shaving cream were popular in the early 20th century where gossip would fill the room. The barber probably heard all of the town gossip including who was sleeping with whom and who bought a new car. I?ve been stuck in bumper to bumper traffic and loud disgruntled drivers honk their horns and yell profanities at whoever caused the mess. The stop light turns green but no one goes. Someone probably is missing their kid?s talent show where you see musicians and puppeteers sharing the same stage. Fraggle Rock was a cool show. Each of the puppets were multi-colored like a box of crayons. I remember seeing kids eat crayons before. Probably wasn?t too healthy but that?s why they put ?Non-toxic? on the box. I wonder what they tasted like? Probably wax like what they use to make candles. I would like to have a romantic dinner with a nice girl one night. They seem to all love candles and I am a wine lover. I?ve heard that fresh rose pedals are sold so you can put them over your bed. Waterbeds are fun to sleep on. It feels like you are swimming and can hear the waves while you sleep. I?ve seen adults use night-lights before. I wonder what the purpose that is. Maybe to find their way down the stairs enough to find the light switch for a midnight snack of cookies. I?ve always wanted to visit Pepperidge farm. Milanos are the best. There was a commercial before with some woman eating them in a bubbly bathtub. She looked relaxed. She ignored the yells of her kid?s demands all for the luxury of a cookie. I wonder what her husband did for a living? Maybe he was stuck in an office doing someone?s tax papers or he was a movie star? Movie theater popcorn sucks. It is always stale and the floors are sticky.

There you have it. I tried to include as many senses and images as possible. Whatever comes into your head just write down. I?m very interested in seeing what others wrote using the same object to start with. Don?t be shy and share! Happy writing.

Note by Jacob: I?ve read up a bit on object writing after reading this and have come up with a simple exercise to do when writing is not an option: notice how, at times, you start thinking of something and you try to remember how you got there. Trace back each previous thought you had to eventually get back to the original thought. Not only is this therapeutic, it stretches the brain and is an excellent way to wind down the day while in bed thinking.

Written by Dutch_Apples © 2004; edited by monkeyguy629.
Murderers! You're murderers! (We are not the same as you).
UG's Freak On a Leash
Join date: Jun 2004
495 IQ
hmmm, I like the idea. Congrats to Dutch_Apples for bringing the topic up, and thanx Jacob for putting it up...

damn did that sound corny.
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rumoresque senum seueriorum
omnes unius aestimemus assis!
UG Monkey
Join date: Jan 2004
403 IQ
This is all basically common knowledge, but good effort on it.

Like I just looked out my window at our back fence, it was a white out a few hours ago, but things have heated up, and the snows all melted, but leaves its stains on the wood, you trace that to the overcast sky, which is synonymous with winter. Then you can pull in greys and such, it's all pretty basic. The changes in cold to heat could be something to the effect of an uncertain relationship, a bad temper, whatever you want. And thats just using a fence :\
Quote by madbasslover
Until_it_sleeps for the motherfucking win!!!
Blanched in White Oars
Join date: Nov 2004
5,239 IQ
^ Agreed this was all common knowledge but it was still a good read. I do think though that object writing only helps your writing ability so much, you can only write about random things so long until it gets rediculous. I can sing how can be fun for a little small poem or what not, but it would be very difficult to do it with every peice and still try to be original and interesting at the same time. I used to do this all the time
UG Monkey
Join date: Jan 2004
403 IQ
Well personally I'd like to think I do it each song, in one way or another, that's how you load them with imagery. I can recall tons of examples, I just meant it's fairly easy to do, but it'll contribute lots to the overall product if you can pull it off.
Quote by madbasslover
Until_it_sleeps for the motherfucking win!!!
über attention wh0re
Join date: Apr 2004
292 IQ
GOOD thread!!!!!
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... jesus. i've seen the light. fake plastictrees, you are a godess among men.

(edited for awesomeness)

Quote by fallenangel20

Thou shall have own opinons on music, and if one disagrees, shall keep his penis trap shut.
Registered User
Join date: May 2004
904 IQ
Good article. Well-written. We've done that in my English writing classes sometimes. Maybe I'll do it for fun when I'm bored. Afterall, I'm going to write for a living. Eek.
A conservative is a man who believes that nothing should be done for the first time. --Alfred E. Wiggam
Join date: May 2002
475 IQ
Nice work. Unstuckded.

Murderers! You're murderers! (We are not the same as you).