In an effort to wake my sleepy head up with words this morning, I attempted to free write for 10 minutes straight just like we used to have to do in school. In free writing you were supposed to simply write non-stop no matter what. You aren't supposed to stop to correct typos (whoops!) or fix punctuation (come on, it only takes a second!) Even if your mind goes blank you are supposed to write something like My mind is blank. My mind is blank. My mind is blank. over and over.
I have always liked this activity and found it challenging at the same time. My brain tends to be in thinking overdrive most of the time. Doing anything without really putting excessive amount of thought/analysis into it kind of blows my mind. Of course, if something is difficult for you, that's usually an indicator that it's good for you, right? Here are some excerpts from my free writing this morning:
Mind is blank. Mind is blank. I love writing. At least I used to love to write. When I was a kid I re-wrote the story of Cinderella. I bound the book (with scotch tape no less). The best part is on the very last page I had an "About the Author" page with a little drawing of my author photo. I think my mom still has that book. My major rewrite is that Cinderella's father wasn't dead. He had just gone away, but she didn't know it and at the end he comes back realizes what nasty bitches his wife and step-daughters are and gets rid of them. Cinderella and dad live happily ever after! I'm pretty sure I wrote this esteemed novel when my parents were going through their split. What an obvious coping mechanism! Mind is blank. Mind is blank. Mind is blank. Oh! I'm at 9 minutes already!
I can't tell you the last time I thought of that little book. Another good thing, in theory, about free writing is stuff just comes up which can be very interesting.
In high school, I was the editor of the school newspaper. I was obsessed with my composition class and my composition teacher. In college, I studied journalism and worked on the college paper. I wrote all the time. I think I miss the structure that school or an activity like the newspaper brings. I always had something to write about handed to me or an assignment carefully crafted that I needed to respond to. In the real world, in order to write, you need to pluck something interesting out of thin air! Then you need to write about it in an insightful, intelligent and interesting way that no one else has ever done before. It's daunting.
In some ways, writing is like going to the gym for me. It's hard to get myself there, but once I'm there it's alright. So, I want to get back to the proverbial writing gym. I need to practice and keep it up and create structure for myself. This blog is a good start, but I want to continue to explore.