Tag Archives: freewrite

The Inertia of Not Doing.

20 Mar
Just Do It | Nike x Lau

Just Do It | Nike x Lau (Photo credit: achimh)

For writers, it is not uncommon to look at the blinking  prompt at the beginning of  your line and all the white space underneath and feel overwhelmed. I am sure that is something that all writers and bloggers have had to deal with at one point or another. It might not even be the dreaded “block” as much as just the inertia of not doing. When you spend a lot of time away from the keyboard, it can feel impossible to return. You become very aware of how long it has been since you last tapped the keys. The molehill of inconvience becomes the mountain of insecurity, doubt and real anxiety.  You start to think that it is just too hard to get back at it and doubt your ability to return to the routine.

 

English: QWERTY keyboard, on 2007 Sony Vaio la...

English: QWERTY keyboard, on 2007 Sony Vaio laptop computer. Français : Le clavier QWERTY d’un ordinateur portable Sony Vaio de 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)So what do you do to get writing again?

Nike was on to something when they offered the veritable and incredibly simple advice, Just Do It,

It can be as simple as that. Sit down and write the first 250 Words that come to mind. Do some freewriting. The best way to get back on to the horse is with a leap and wrap both legs around the belly and ride. It can be as simple as that. Once, you are back in the practice of dumping 250 words in the morning then the page won’t seem quite as intimidating when you want to do some real writing.  If you can’t do 250 words then do any amount that you can but once you start you will find that 250 words are hardly any at all. Look at this entry so far and I am just barely over 250. Two short paragraphs will get you there. Take a shot you have nothing to lose and your writing habit to gain. So, get back to it and remember the truest of truisms:

 

WRITERS WRITE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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)

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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

 

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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

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.

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