Hello my lovely readers. Long time no see!
The last few months have been incredibly busy with work and a wedding (my sister’s not mine) and other general life busyness. As a side effect to that my blog (and all writing) has been sadly neglected. But the itching in my fingers (and where ever else the longing to write something… anything… comes from) has reached an alarming level and I am planning on acting on it. The problem, as I have discovered over the past week or so, is that though the mind is willing the muscles are weak… the writing muscles that is. You see, just like regular muscles that need to be used regularly to remain fully functional and not seize up, writing muscles also need to be used regularly to remain in top form.
I found that neglecting any form of writing for the past few months has resulted in muscles that have become used to laziness. I now get to listen to their groans of protest as I stretch them out and put them through their paces (you would not believe the protests I had to overcome while I worked on my Wedding speech.) I am determined, however, to push through and whip my writing muscles back into shape. To motivate me and hopefully help me develop a better blogging habit I have decided to join Writing 101 (a writing challenge run by WordPress’ The Daily Post that you can read more about here.) The challenge/workshop runs all through June and while I may not post the product of the writing assignment each day I am going to try to post many of them and, at the very least, use them as personal prompts to get into the habit of daily writing.
The first writing assignment was posted today and it was based on free writing. As such, it didn’t produce a nice, polished, post for you all to read and so I debated not sharing it. Each assignment, however, comes with a twist. The twist today was to actually post the end product of the free writing. My first thoughts were: “um… everyone reading my completely unedited stream-of-consciousness-writing? No thank you” but then I thought about it some more and decided that there’s really no reason not to post it. So here it is. Please keep in mind that no editing (or at least very little… I couldn’t help the little edits that I did along the way…) went into this post.
Let me know what you think! What are you thoughts on free writing? Do you ever use it to “get the juices flowing”? What other writing methods do you use to stretch writing muscles and keep them healthy?
I am sitting here at my computer, listening to the wind that will most likely bring a thunderstorm, and drinking a tasty, slushy drink, and trying to figure out what I should write about for this first Blogging U assignment. Yes, that is right, I am sitting here trying to figure out what to write about for a free writing assignment. The type of writing that should, by definition, have little forethought put into it. But that is the way I have apparently programmed myself to write. First, you get an idea or think up a topic. After that, you think about the topic for a bit and decide what type of angle you are going to take. And then, only then, do you begin to start writing.
This method, however, is not necessarily conducive to that spur of the moment inspiration and creativity that comes from setting aside thought and engaging the peripheral vision of the mind. I find it is in those moments when I’m not really thinking about creativity, or ideas or writing that I manage to see the ideas that are lurking in the shadows of my mind. It’s like those times when you can just see something in your peripheral vision but when you turn your head you can’t figure out what it was you were seeing.
I have a love hate relationship with free writing. Sometimes I find it an amazing release and a great method to “get the juices flowing.” It’s great for those moments when you’re working on a project (or history assignment) and you find that you’re stuck so bad you’re not even sure you know how to write anymore. The options available at that point seem to be quit everything (because, if you can’t write anymore there’s really no hope for that story, project or history degree); engage in some heavy procrastination that will most likely not free up the mental block (stressed out because you can’t get the ideas flowing, the sure way to fix it is to ensure that you ensure you have less time to complete the project… because that won’t add any stress on…) or just write. Wow that last sentence sure was a beast… Free writing can also be a dear friend when I have a lot on my mind and am stressed or upset for some reason but can’t really organize my thoughts. My writing starts out as an unorganized mess and quite often filters into something that, while not necessarily coherent or readable to anyone but myself, has at least managed to sort my thoughts into something I can understand a bit better.
Sometimes, though, I find free writing intimidating. I love the idea of it when you’re trying to come up with a story idea or flesh out a character but I find it difficult to actually sit down and follow through with the idea. What if, by putting those ideas down on paper, they somehow “break.” What if writing down my ideas spoils them somehow and I realize that out of the safety of my mind the characters and storylines are weak and unfocused. What if my ideas are better enjoyed alone and not in the company of a crowd (though there is no reason why my free writing would need to be viewed by anyone other than myself).
And now I’m stuck. I have no more ideas. But I just looked at my phone (thinking that I had maybe made it to half way through the allotted 20 minutes) only discover that I have only 2 minutes left. It took me 18 minutes to get to the point where my initial flow of ideas slowed down a bit. But I am realizing that even though I feel my “free thoughts” starting to change and slow down, I feel warmed up. I feel like I could now sit down and begin to write a post, or a story or an essay. Hmm… now there’s a thought… warm up before you start to write for the day… fascinating.
If you’ve made it this far thanks for reading!