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The Golden Bubble Experience by Catherine Brophy

Writing.ie | Resources | Developing Your Craft

Catherine Brophy

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Isn’t it thrilling when a great idea pops into your head?   One you know will make a fabulous article, story, novel or poem.   It can happen anytime, anywhere, and anything can spark it.   I think of it like a shining Christmas bauble, high up the air with this new writing glowing inside, complete, and perfect.  The details are still pretty hazy, but I know it’s exciting, witty, moving, warm, wise, profound and utterly fabulous.   And it lights up my head.   I call it, The Golden Bubble Experience.

The image may be different image for you, but the excitement is just the same.  You get that warm, satisfied feeling that something good has just happened and you hug it to yourself.

Your start composing your acceptance speech for the Nobel, the Oscar, the Pulitzer, the Booker.    You draw up lists of the people you must remember to thank.  You design the fabulous outfit you’ll wear to the ceremony.  The famous people you’ll meet at the celebration party.  You plan witty replies to the questions interviewers will ask.  You compose words of wisdom to bequeath to your adoring fans.   You may even find yourself calculating the speaking fees you could command and the number of millions you should demand for the film rights….

And…  oh yes, I forgot… YOU STILL HAVE TO WRITE IT!

Sometimes the golden bubble takes time to evolve.   An idea comes into your head that seems vaguely interesting, but it might be weeks or months or even years before it grows into the Golden Bubble that demands to be written.   Sometimes ideas come when you are in the middle of something else and you have to put them aside and keep them on hold.

Are Golden Bubbles gifts from the gods?   And just as unpredictable?   Just as arbitrary?   Well… it is true that you can never predict them, but you can create the right conditions.   And when the conditions are right, they do not descend from on high, they bubble up from inside your very own brain.   How do you do it?   You practise your craft.   That means, you write.    Write anything at all but write every day.

Pay attention to the things that you normally have to write anyway, emails, reports, memos etc.    Aim to write them as clearly and effectively as possible.  Before you send them off, read them ALOUD to yourself.   That usually lets you hear how your words might be misunderstood, which bits need to be cut, which need to be clarified, which need to be expanded.

Apart from that, write about things in your daily life. Write about childhood memories and teenage mishaps.  Write about things that make you happy, sad, angry etc.    This regular practice helps you develop your skills and your style.

Making a list of subjects you can call on when you are stuck for ideas.   One thing will lead to another and ideas will begin to spark.  For example:

  • Your best holiday ever
  • Something that irritated you recently
  • Something you profoundly dislike
  • Your hobby-horse subject
  • People you love
  • People you hate.

Then you have something to choose from everyday.   Choose whichever one tickles your fancy to-day. Then,

  • Start with your first thought on the subject and keep going till you run out of steam.
  • Do not edit.
  • Do not worry about structure, spelling, grammar or syntax.
  • Write whatever comes into your head no matter how irrelevant.
  • If you stray into another topic or even several other topics, that’s fine.


There will be no marks.

There will be no punishment

There will be no stars.

There will be no prizes.

This writing is FOR YOUR EYES ONLY.

Most of the time when we write we are trying to communicate a fact or idea to somebody else.   That means there are many things we don’t say because they’re irrelevant, inappropriate, or undiplomatic.  We edit our thoughts as we write.   Editing is, of course, an essential skill for a writer but you need to have something to edit.  So first you need to be able to think creatively, originally, and interestingly.    This is the reason that writing FOR YOUR EYES ONLY is valuable.    You don’t have to worry what anyone will think.   You don’t have to be logical.   You don’t have to be reasonable.   You don’t have to be sensible.   This “no-holds-barred” writing helps you to:

  • Free up creative thought.
  • Stimulate a flow of ideas.
  • Clarify your beliefs, assumptions, prejudices and understandings.
  • Discover things you never realised you thought.

A lot of what you write will be garbage.   Some of it will be distinctly un-woke and very un-cool but, every so often, you’ll discover a jewel, a rough diamond, an emerald, a ruby, a pearl.   And these jewels will become your Golden Bubbles.

For more information about free writing read:

Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg, Shambhala Publications.

(c) Catherine Brophy

Order books by Catherine Brophy online here.

About the author

Catherine Brophy is a writer, storyteller, broadcaster and workshop facilitator. She has written and published novels short stories and blogs by the cartload. She has written for T.V. and radio. She has given workshops, told stories and given readings her in Ireland of course but also in Britain, Germany, Netherlands Hungary, Poland and the U.S.

  • allianceindependentauthors.org
  • www.designforwriters.com

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