Anais Nin famously promoted her lifelong practice of keeping a diary – from which she mined the characters, places and conflicts that fueled her novels. Shunning the writing style of her era -she played with collage. “By rejecting realistic writing for the experience and intuitions she drew from her diary, Nin was able to forge a novelistic style emphasizing free association, spontaneity, and improvisation, a technique that finds its parallel in the jazz music performed at the café where Nin’s characters meet.” She believed “writing should sing, shout, cry, laugh, make love” and “Music, color, texture, sculpture should be sources of inspiration.”

Another take on Nin’s collage is William S. Burroughs “cut-ups” which is taking text from different sources and reassembling it to make new meaning. This can be effective using  your own writing too and has been cited as an excellent method to address writer’s block.

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