Archive | Freewriting Fridays RSS feed for this section

Freewriting Fridays 6/21

21 Jun
This image was selected as a picture of the we...

This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 51st week, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Does anyone remember this long ago freewriting exercise?  Or maybe this one? The idea of freewriting is simple; just write.

I like to use 750 words. You can do whatever you like. There is only one rule: WRITE!

Prompt: “Creatures Kissing In the Rain”

Sinewy.

Is that the right word? It sounds like what I think I mean to say but dictionaries and writing teachers would probably argue the word choice.

It is impossible to think of the right word with him standing there in front of me. His lank torso bare in front of me and his lengthy nest of dun brown hair hanging limply to his cheeks. There is a segment of it caught on his lower lip. His lips are thin and wet. The rain has soaked his face. His glasses are covered in spots and drops. His smile is unmistakable as he takes the thick frames off and catches my glance.

It wasn’t the first time that he and I had skipped class together. We had almost made a a habit of it the last year. He was the artist and I was the writer. He was actually talented and I was just barely good enough to get in the school magazine.

There was a few mile stretch of woods behind our school. We weren’t the first delinquints to use it to hide from teachers. There had even been a fire or two from reckless teenagers throwing their butts into litterpiles of red leaves and wrinkled copies of the student literary magazine. My writing makes excellent kindling.

Most kids would stay to the border of the woods and just smoke or drink or even screw beneath the low creeping bushes. Not him. He had found a cave way out across the creek. It was nothing more than a hole in the ground to look at from outside but inside was enough room to sit comfortably the two of us.

He had moved a tape deck inside and had a great collection of old casettes. They were things he had gotten from his older brother. Thin white dukes and odd creatures with high hair and make-up eyes that crooned creepy little tunes of death, sex, and the other things that captured the imagination of humankind especially moody, melancholy teenage boys.

He was shirtless now. Sitting cross legged. We had walked here in a pouring rain under massive thunderheads with flashes of deep purple lightning across the sky. Shut up! I am the narrator so it was purple lightning. It did smell of the sort of moist black dirt that earthworms wriggle free of. Since I am the narrator, there was nothing uncomfortable at all about sitting in a hole in the ground scrawling in a notebook with my clothes clinging to my wet body that was anything but lank or sinewy.

He was thin and beautiful but I was the sort who got nicknames inspired by farm animals. Somehow he seemed not to notice how largely uncomfortable I was.

“Take off your shirt”.

Was that phrase really passing his lips and tumbling into the small space between us or was I hearing my own thoughts. It was projection. It was desire,right?

“I’m not a perve. I’m seventeen and I have seen it all before. We are going to build a small fire. We can let our clothes dry over that.”, he spoke from his years of experience. I mean I was only fifteen and I was sure he had more than just a few years on me. He must have been a boy scout because with almost no real tinder, he had a small fire burning.

He took off his shorts too. Now there he was almost naked. A small fire licking the top of our makeshift makeout den. We hadn’t actually ever made out.

Except in my imagination.

I listened to him and had my top off in seconds.I was a little hesitant but my underclothes disappeared as well. I reluctantly also kicked aside my soaked jeans. Now we were both sitting there in the near buff.

“Boxers?”, he said.

I turned a little pink in my cheeks. My heart was a steady patter in my chest.

“No, that’s cool.”, he shrugged. “To each their own.”

He pulled his sketchbook out of his backpack and began to stare in that way where he made you (okay, me!) feel like he was looking not just at you but sort of into you.

Holy crap! This is such horrible hormone induced writing. I was scribbling away too. It was words just wordswordswords. They were all about him but he wouldn’t know it to read it. It was the same terrible teenage poetry that girls in my creative writing class wrote about the teacher.

I was careful not to use too many revealing terms. I could talk about this feeling forever but I couldn’t express it fully. I mean what if one of those footballers found my notebook and knew how bad I wanted to kiss my best friend.

Boys don’t kiss boys. That’s what father says.

Who dares me to do another “Freewriting Friday”? No edits, just wordswordswords…I need a topic. Please comment with a short story topic. I’ll use the ones I don’t choose on future fridays.

Advertisements

Tuesday is Tricky: Writer’s Block

9 Oct

Mondays are “Meet My Guest Blogger Monday” like this so Tuesday? Tuesday is tricky. No really, “Tuesday is Tricky: Tips and Tricks” is the second theme day of the week.  It will be some form of tips or tricks about writing. Today, let’s take a look at…

Tips and Tricks to Beat Writer’s Block

1. Make a date with your writing desk. Nothing ever gets done unless we plan it. Plan to take a certain time of the day and make it yours for writing. I know..I know…you don’t have time! No one does. Yet we manage to watch TV, play online, and make it to the gym. If you are a writer then shouldn’t writing time be a priority to TV and the internet and at least as important for your health as time at the gym? Say yes and make a plan to devote a part of the day to writing.

2. Write words. Lots of them. It isn’t enough to just block off time for writing if you are not actually spending those hours writing. Set a small word goal for day one and then aim to increase it by 100 every day until you get to a comfortable spot. Remember that writing badly is better than not writing at all. There is always revision later. 

3. Write first, Rewrite later. Writing and rewriting are distinctly different tasks. Focus on getting your work written before you begin the rewriting. These are tasks for different days. Stop rewriting the same page for a week and force yourself to write badly first and rewrite later. LATER!

4. Juggle. Have multiple projects going at once. Give one as much as you can until you are stuck and then start another. I usually have a blog post or two going at once. I have flash fiction challenges and the WIP (and some smaller short fiction things). If I can’t make one work with me at the moment, I don’t panic. I put it down and pick up another.

5. Write (when it isn’t writing time). Once in a while, forget you regular writing time and trade it with gym time or some other time of the day. Attack your enemy from another direction. Flank those freaky words and come in from a corner of the battlefield that they would never expect. It’s like a mental ambush!

6. Write it out of order. Nothing says that you have to write it in the order that you want it read. Write the middle first or the end then go to the beginning. Mix it up. Write the part that wants out first. Then use that to build the rest.

7. Regular FreewritingMake time to freewrite every day. Freewriting is like priming the mental pump. Read this or this. That’s forced one shot writing. Do it freely and forget the grammar rules or spelling. Forget anything but getting words on the page. There is also this.  Now read all of my opinions on Freewriting and I have a lot of them. Freewriting is a must have tool in a writer’s toolbox. You must be willing to write for the love of writing. Rewriting is for later.

8. Pick up on the hint! Did you get my #1 most important tip to beating writer’s block? I said it over and over in each tip. Rewriting is not the same as writing. You build the house before you paint it. You must have words on the page before you can revise them. Tattoo that on your hand (or just put a post it note on your screen): REWRITE LATER!

**************************************************************************************************

If you haven’t yet, please connect with me on social media:

Please follow this blog by email or on your WordPress reader page (or both). If you found this information valuable then please feel free to share it with others. I provided the share buttons so you bring the shares.

As always your comments are appreciated.

Freewriting Friday (10/5)

5 Oct

Do you remember way back to Freewriting Friday (9/7)? I don’t blame you if you don’t. I put “Freewriting Friday” on a sort of hiatus while  we finished out our challenge. I was a little spotty on some of my writing routines with the new “day job” as well.  I think it is time to come back to it now almost a full month later (not to mention breaking a sort of radio silence since the end of September). Where were we? Oh yeah…

 

“Something Completely Unexpected That Happened to Her”

 

It was late evening and her time for a long soaking in the tub. She had become of the habit of running the water just as hot as she could from the tap and just barely safe from scalding. What was it her writer friend, Alex called them; “Lobster Baths”? She was taking one of her “Lobster Baths”.

 

She dipped her head back slowly and her hair drifted out around her body. She felt a few air bubbles escape her ears as she lowered her head. She tipped her neck back and reminded herself of the flexibility of the first aid mannequins that she was using in her class. It wasn’t a glamorous comparison. She was certainly much more feminine than the stiff almost androgynous dolls. As if to reassure her she felt a slight chill on the tips of her nipples and her knees. If she could have one wish at this moment it would be a tub deep enough that she could be fully submerged knee caps and nipples. She pulled her bright red hair across her chest. She had her eyes closed and head almost completely beneath the water. Just enough of her nostrils out to get air.

 

Ever since she was a girl she had an affinity for the water. She took swim lessons at the local YMCA from the time she was able to walk and spent most of her summers at the community pool. She dreamed when she was young of swimming in the Olympics but her father barely made the money to keep her in swim suits and she took a job as a life guard to ensure that there wasn’t a sunny day that she wasn’t near the water.

 

Her dad had a small aquarium in the front room. It wasn’t anything extravagant. There were only tropical freshwater fish that you could buy at any pet store. She would lounge in her father’s recliner for hours and just stare. There were bright yellow and blue African cichilid fish that would dart around the rocks and driftwood that her father had piled in the aquarium to give the fish a place to hide. It was a perfect daydream to pretend that someday she could dart and dash beneath the water with no fear of drowning. She would sit there and wait for her dad to come home from work and it was always later than either of them liked. She would have dinner ready for him in the oven. He would know exactly where to find her when he got home. Sometimes drifting off to sleep just imagining herself beneath the waves.

 

When she was very little she had made her dad buy her posters of mermaids to cover her walls. Even as a teen she was attached to the story of ‘The Little Mermaid’ and had drawn something in high school art class and framed it. It was a mermaid lying across a rock with her eyes scanning the waves. She had been inspired by the fairy tale but for her the tale was in reverse. She was the little girl who longed to live her life beneath the sea with the fish and crustaceans.

 

All of this reverie and she had forgotten where she was and her head fell beneath the water. She didn’t panic but opened her eyes. She had lots of time in the water and knew that while drowning could happen in an instant that fear was worst than the water to a person who finds themselves beneath the water.

 

It had been twelve hours give or take ten minutes since she heard about her father. She wondered what it must have felt like to him. Was he afraid? Or did he just accept it? It was nothing she would have imagined for him. He was never much of a swimmer but in her mind he was still something of a great big sea lion. He was large but his movements were always fluid and natural. He knew how to tread water and to do a water crawl that always got him to safety. He rarely had much free time but what he had he always spent with her taking her to lessons and sitting there watching her intently with a smile.

 

He wasn’t a perfect man.In many people’s eyes she was the daughter of an absolute failure. He drank daily since her mother died. He pushed a mop many more hours than he spent writing. He spent his time cleaning up after the messes of others. To her though, he was something elemental and amazing. It was impossible to imagine a world without him in it.

 

The bath had gone cold. She let all of the air escape her lungs.

 

She didn’t drown.

A Mermaid by John William Waterhouse.

A Mermaid by John William Waterhouse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

******************************************************************************************************

 

750 Words says that I am sitting just around 795 with that one. I just wrote for the time that I had this morning. I wrote not even sure what the conclusion was going to be as I was writing it or even where I was going from the start of it. Freewriting can be prompted by anything. It can be something you have done (as routine a daily task as bathing) or a memory or anything. I use different prompts every day. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be 750 words (or a little more). Give yourself grace with spelling or grammar. There is nothing that needs to be corrected. This is just a sort of way to break past our blocks. Now freewrite and share with me here in the comments,please.

 

Your prompt for next week:

 

How He Spent His Saturday

 

*********************************************************************************

 

If you haven’t yet, please connect with me on social media:

 

Please follow this blog by email or on your WordPress reader page (or both). If you found this information valuable then please feel free to share it with others. I provided the share buttons so you bring the shares, buddy!

 

As always your comments are appreciated.

 

Excelsior. Peace Out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freewriting Friday (8/31)

31 Aug
English: Print of Princess Charlotte of Wales ...

English: Print of Princess Charlotte of Wales as a young girl. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey Guys!

I had almost forgot but this is “Freewriting Friday”. If you are not familiar with the concept of freewriting or the challenge I have set for Fridays, then please feel free to click the link and travel back in time to last Friday when I explained the value of freewriting as a tool in the writer’s toolbox and as a weapon against writer’s block. I also set the topic for this week’s challenge to write about:

“Writer’s Block as if it was something material and part of the physical world.”

Now, I present you with my 750 words or more. Remember that spelling and grammar errors are allowed and forgive them. Here is my attempt from last Friday’s challenge.

Once upon a time there was a young queen who said,”If only, my lonely days would end and I might have a child,” but never had one. “I would call her Story and she would be beautiful and her voice so sweet that all would come to hear her recite”, pledged the young queen as a tear ran down her cheek.

It happened once as the young queen was bathing, a large frog leaped from the water onto her breast. “Queen Muse, your wish shall be fulfilled, before twelve full cycles of the moon have passed,you shall birth a daughter. You may name her ‘Story’ as you have planned and it is true that none shall be able to resist the lure of her voice and shall travel far to hear her recitations.”

What the frog had told her had came true, and the young queen had discovered she was with child and began to recite short fables and long epics as she rubbed her hands over her round belly. It came that she had a little girl who was so pretty and words so mesmerizing that the queen could not contain her joy and ordered a great banquet.

She invited her kin from near and far, friends and ambassadors from all of the other kingdoms and lands that bordered. She invited also the greatest bards of the village that they might be kind and well-disposed towards the child. There were thirteen of them but she only had twelve silver lyres with which to gift them, so one of them had to be left at home as she could not be embarassed.

The feast was held and the bards brought gifts with which to bestow the young princess- one gave words, another wit, one richness of tone, and so on with everything one might wish for Story. When eleven of the bards made their tribute, suddenly the thirteenth bard entered the hall and said not a word to the others or the queen and spoke directly to the child, “Your words are wistful and kind but on your thirteenth winter, your lips will fall mute and the cold winds shall blow fiercely and entrap you within a block of frigid and unbreakable ice. All may see your beauty and imagine your voice but never hear you from within”. And without saying another word, he left wrapping his cloak around him tightly.

Shocked and frightened, but the twelfth bard, whose good words were yet to be spoken walked forward and knowing he could not undo the evil sentence, but could perhaps soften it he said, “This truth is truer than true, winter’s breath is cold and bluer that blue, but if the right words are told your skin will take a rosier hue and then Story you will know precisely what you shall do”

So each winter, the queen made her castle more secure and boarded up the windows and put curtains across the doors. She spoke with wise women and magi too but all agreed that none could prevent the sad truth.

Meanwhile the gifts of the bards were generously fulfilled on the young girl, for her recitations were perfect in every detail and crowds would gather in the spring and summer just to hear her speak ten words of poetry.

It happened that on the very day when she was thirteen years old, that the queen was away in the east and though she hurried her envoys to bring her home that the young princess Story was alone.

She always wondered about the bricked off dining hall and the tower above it and though she knew she was forbidden, she climbed up the narrow winding-staircase, and reached a little door. An old iron key was in the lock but when Story turned it the door went wide.

There was a tiny desk and a tiny scribe.

“Who are you?”, the young princess spoke.

“I am the writer of the tale”, the goblin answered. His eyes two tiny black marbles rolled towards her and he pierced her finger upon his quill. He wrote in blood upon his parchment.

The young princess fell to the floor and the winds ripped the boards right from the windows and the doors and ice pierced the thatch and all around young Story grew a pile of ice that froze into place and became solid as glass. Though you could still see the surprise on her face, none could hear another word from her lips. Sadly, the writer spoke and “This is my block”.

Luminous and bright the ice held her tight and though all knew that story lied within through this winter and then hundreds more, the young princesses freedom none could restore. The castle fell into disrepair and the kingdom into poverty and the block was carried down and placed at the center of the hall. The twelve bards of the kingdom had each tried their most magical words but they echoed and boomed but no reply was ever heard. Historians and storytellers from the world wide would come and recite to the princess inside but none could seem to break the spell and the princess was locked in her own forzen hell.

The queen after most of a century collapsed over that granite hard ice block with her daughter inside finally giving up all hope in bleak sadness she died.

How long passed? It depends on who is telling the tale but one winter when all was white with snow and the air pierced by hail, a young traveller sought shelter inside of a ruined castle hall. All the tapestries torn and the furniture burned for warmth, the young man sat against a solid block off ice that was now fogged white. He brought his cape close around his body and pulled from his satchel a pen and a bound pad that he had inherited from his father who had inherited it before and he began to read a story that started a hundred years or more before in a forgotten kingdom with a long-dead queen and thoughtless act and an evil deed.

See his father had been a bard as his father before and each had sat and written just a little bit more. As the young bard read he realized that he was within just such a hall and though the block was covered in leaves from fall and piles of snow, he brushed them away and just had to know.

Inside was a young frail dark-haired child, no older than he and her eyes were wide and her blue lips slightly parted as if in middle of a word.

He opened his ink bottle. It was more than half frozen and dipped in his pen and then her began the tale again. Only as he wrote and he got to this moment and he got to this part he could hear nothing but the beat of his heart.

He wrote quickly as if he could not waste a moment and despite his haste chose each word wisely and finished the tale and as he did he could see the princess was not quite so pale.

Her skin began to become bright as spring roses and her lips like blood. As she warmed the blocked began to sweat and then pour and puddles began to appear on the floor and suddenly as if winter was over and never to return a warm wind blew and spring had returned.

From Story’s soft mouth came the words that she meant to speak those centuries before. She whispered them now into the ears of the young bard who had freed her, “Who is this story for?”

Done. So now let’s see yours?

Please link your answers to last week’s challenge in the comments here. The challenge for this next Friday is to write about:

“Google Image Search the word, ‘resplendent’  and choose the image you like best and then ‘voracious’ and your favorite for that word  and write a story involving the two images. Try not to use the two words in the story.”

Ready? Go!

I will check back with next Freewriting Friday.

Freewriting Friday

24 Aug
Freewriting

Freewriting (Photo credit: Eemah)

Writing is Communication. Effective Writing is Effective Communication.

One thing said to me often is that writing is hard. That is a lie. Writing is not hard. Writing is very easy. Most of us learned to write in grade school. Writing is communication. Effective writing is effective communication. Effective communication takes practice. Infants don’t begin learning to speak by orating like Winston Churchill. They make nonsense that sounds like the “coo” of pigeons. It takes practice to speak like a Churchill (or an Obama). So why would anyone expect to sit down and write like Hemingway (or Stephen King) the first time they place fingers to a keyboard? Writing isn’t hard. Writing takes practice. In the beginning, just like with an infant you might make nonsense but with time, you will find your voice.

Writing takes Practice.

As with any skill that you want to learn, you must be willing to practice. You must practice to improve your ability. You will not start out writing perfectly. You will start out making many mistakes. Making mistakes is the best part of learning. Every mistake is a teacher. There are times when we don’t even care about the mistakes. Mistakes make us better. Mistakes can make us more creative.

Neil Gaiman said this about mistakes in a keynote address at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia:

I hope you’ll make mistakes. If you’re making mistakes, it means you’re out there doing something. And the mistakes in themselves can be useful. I once misspelled Caroline, in a letter, transposing the A and the O, and I thought, “Coraline looks like a real name…”

Neil Gaiman turned that mistake into a character, Coraline and wrote her into adventures worthy of a Hugo , Nebula, and Bram Stoker’s  awards. Our mistakes can make us better. Give yourself permission to make plenty of mistakes.

One time to explore the mistakes we will make is in freewriting. Freewriting is a form of brainstorming. I am a real fan of brainstorming and have suggested techniques before for brainstorming. I really encourage brainstorming. In fact, I equate brainstorming to creative thinking. I want you to become a “brain stormtrooper”.

Brainstorming = Creative Thinking

Freewriting is one of my favorite forms of brainstorming. Freewriting  can be done at any time of the day. Many writers make this a part of their morning routine. Julia Cameron suggests this with her idea of “Morning Pages”.

Click the link that says “Morning Pages”. If you follow no other link in this post, follow this one. Go ahead. I’ll wait here. Watch the video too. No,really…it’s okay. I’ll be right here.

See wasn’t that worth it?  I laugh when I watch her but she explains the importance of freewriting in a really easy way to relate to yourself.  I have not yet read The Artist’s Way. I do find the idea of “Morning Pages” to be a sound practice. I do freewriting any time that I am stuck in my writing but it has become a part of my morning routine. Freewriting can be a useful part of any writer’s routine and is really good for clearing out some of our mental clutter.

Not a single care was given this day

Freewriting Baby

What is Freewriting?

Freewriting is a pre-writing technique in which you write freely without a care for spelling,grammar or topic. Freewriting as a term was coined by Peter Elbow. Freewriting allows the writer to forget the rules and write without regard to how the writing looks on the page.  Freewriting is used to conquer blocks and to release negative energies. Does that sound to “New Age”? Do you expect me to follow it up with talk about cosmic vibrations. I won’t. I won’t go all Natalie Goldberg on you but think of writing as a meditation. Consider how releasing it will be to your writer’s blocks of apathy or fear of critique to allow yourself to just write. Write whatever comes to mind.

Joel Friedlander has an excellent post on freewriting called “Unleashing Your Creativity”.  That is another link that I give you full permission to follow now or later.  He talks about the idea of prompts. Let’s explore that.

Using a prompt.

A prompt is a suggestion to get your mind started. It is like priming  an engine with oil. It helps a cold engine get started. A prompt could be anything. Example prompts:

Write about:

  • the room you are in.
  • shoes..
  • a bird’s nest.
  • why they say cat’s have nine lives
  • that smell coming from the other room

Need more? 

Whether you use a prompt is totally up to you and you don’t have to. Remember freewriting is supposed to be freeing and if the prompts jam you up then dump them. You don’t need them.

Three handwritten pages is about 750 word. 750 Words is also the name of a great site for freewriting that I use daily. I encourage any writer of any level to try it if they are not currently freewriting in another way. I know that I am more comfortable freewriting at my keyboard than I am at writing three long scribbled pages in a notebook (although I do that when I am not near my computer).

Bloggers know we are all one click from being abandoned. However, I encourage you to follow the links I suggested especially on “Morning Pages”, “Unleashing Your Creativity”, and 750 Words.

So What is “Freewriting Friday”?

If you are not making freewriting part of your daily routine whether in the morning or any time that you get blocked up, then at least commit to yourself (and me) that you will join me here every Friday for “Freewriting Friday”. I will suggest a prompt and you will take it and blog it on your own blog. You do blog? Everybody blogs.

I will also share my freewriting from the week before. It will not be edited. It will likely contain many mistakes. It will be an example of what freewriting is like for anyone who is interested in taking this tool into their toolbox.

This week’s prompt for next week is write about:

“Writer’s Block as if it was something material and part of the physical world.”

If you are willing to take the freewriting challenge then follow this prompt and link in the comments. If you are going to take freewriting and make it part of your morning routine then just comment “I’m in!”

I dare you to take this challenge and make it a part of your daily (or weekly) routines as a writer.

%d bloggers like this: