From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for Improvisation

My high school improv class was taught by the same man who taught me English for the last three years of high school. Yeah, my school was pretty small. We only had the improv class because Mr. K decided we needed it.

I think he was right. In English and creative writing we used a lot of the same principles that we talked about in improv.

Always say yes.

Don't be afraid to look stupid.

Go with what comes, editing is for later.

Have fun.

I think rules are important. Structure, procedure. When you are writing an essay or short story or article or anything else there are guidelines you need to follow. But I think it is easy to get stuck in a rut. And improv is how we get out of it.

I know most of us aren't part of an improv group or anything, but there are still some fun games to play with friends, and I think letting ourselves go every once in a while and seeing what we come up with on the page could end up being pretty awesome.

Anyway, I'll leave you with my favorite improve game of all.

Have a good one!

Sarah Allen


  1. I do this with my writing - I never edit as I go. I get the story down and edit later.

  2. Me too. Recently, someone at my school asked me f I'd come and talk to their class about planning. And I can see why they need to plan out an essay, but I said, "Uh, actually,..."

    "You don't plan?" I agreed.

    But you can't tell that to kids. They need structure to help them get started, they really do. Planning, even if they don't stick to it, means they have something to focus on. Most kids don't have the self-discipline you ironically need to be able to throw it all out there and then get it in order.

    Instead, I have suggested to kids who have made a start but had writers' block, that they should go ahead and write the eding, then ce back and fill in.

  3. That should have been "write the ending and come back".

    Oh, and then there are the ones who get upset if they don't get it right first go, and keep stopping to edit!

  4. Often you have to get through the bad ideas to get to the good ones.

    Moody Writing

  5. I love improv, though I'm usually in the audience.

  6. I love improv too. I never thought I could do it, but as it turned out it was my favorite lesson in my acting class in high school.

  7. I love watching improv. I such at it, but it's awesome when it's done right.

    Happy A to Z blogging!

  8. Lucky you, to have an improv class! And that was one of my favorite shows ever. Wayne Brady = genius!

  9. as i was telling dana today, whose post was on improv too---i ended up teaching improv---i know---sounds weird to teach improv----lots of fun!

  10. Most of life is improv when you consider it. You might as well enjoy it.

  11. What wonderful advice - don't be afraid to look stupid! Putting your writing out there takes guts.

  12. I loved this show when it was on. I know it ran its course, but it's still one of my favorite. I'm terrible with theater improv-- I'm wayyyy too in inhibited.

  13. I never thought about improv in terms of writing but this is so true. Great advice!

  14. I love that show! And you are correct--creative writing is improv.

  15. I love that show!

    I was terrible at improv for a while because I would over think it. Once I relaxed I got a lot better at it. The same goes for writing :)

  16. I love watching improv. I used to watch a show called 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?'. I don't think it's on TV any more but you just made me go and watch it on YouTube. :-)


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