Start with an open mind!!
For many people schooled in writing, Free Writing will set your teeth on edge because it is not about product, not about “good” writing, not about writing a draft of anything that is of any real use. So why do it? Because it helps you do all those good things by freeing you up to invent, let go, move into the non-thinking play space of your imagination and memory. For this, stream of consciousness, associative writing is wonderful
Free writing is one of those basic tools for writing anything. It gets the juices flowing, surprises us about what’s happening beneath the waves, and brings energy to whatever writing project you have before you.
A few RULES for Free Writing!
- Write without stopping for 5 minutes
- Write 40% faster than you normally write to evade the internal critics
- Write without punctuation–using only dashes to separate phrases if you like–and one period that pops in at the end.
- Use writing prompts to get you going but don’t be enslaved by them: Here are 5 words to get you going.
Subway / Mystery / Hot / Bounce / Brazil
Use these words to help start and perhaps continue your writing. Use one to get you going. If you slow down, go to another to get you back on the speedy trail. Think of the words as islands that you have to get to by using whatever rickety improv word-bridges you find along the way.
Here goes Free Writing!
Bounce 5 minutes a day shake out the doubts blues confusion and find energy for writing and remembering but don’t worry about structure or run-ons or nonsense because this writing is to wake ideas and shine light through their wandering unimpeded nature and rhythmn and rhythm being only guided by the 5 words and others you get to create at the beginning of your 5 minutes that allow you to enter the unter-terrain of your memory and ride that subway to the known and mystery stops along the way not worrying whether they’re too hot listless or cold only that you were willing to keep going bouncing even if your cousin’s in Brazil while believing this process is useful in some fractured indirect way that may lead nowhere beyond the moment but you sense that doing this writing over time may yield something that you have needed
Once done with your 5 minutes: look over your writing and underline any phrases that call to you. You’re looking for what may be seeds for immediate and future writing, however disguised these writing seeds may be.
Write for 5 minutes 3 days a week to shake out the doubts blues confusion and to find energy for writing and remembering but don’t worry about structure or run-on sentences or creating nonsense because this writing is designed to awaken ideas and shine light through the wandering unimpeded nature of its rhythm being only guided by the 5 words and others you create at the beginning of your 5 minutes that allow you to enter the unter-terrain of your memory and ride the subway to the known and mystery stops along the way not worrying whether they’re too hot listless or cold only that you were willing to keep going and bouncing even if you’ve landed in Brazil while believing this process is useful in some fractured indirect way that may lead nowhere beyond the moment but you sense that doing this writing over time may yield something that you have needed
Writing seeds for me are: hot listless / mystery stops / unter-terrain of memory / keep going and bouncing / yield something you have needed
Now, take one of those phrases and begin a shorter form of Free Writing (3 Minutes) that is inspired from that underlining: this might be called focused free writing which is an oxymoron but is a particularly useful technique when stalled on a writing project and you want to open up the moment to see some of the imagery and issues that may be part of the temporary road block.
A note on the creative process comes from the poet Charlie Simic whose early life was spent in Yugoslavia and much of his poetry has related to the integration and juxtaposition of traditional Yugoslav agrarian life with urban American life. He said his beginnings were dictated by his travel agents, Hitler and Stalin. Of the creative process, he says: “When you start putting words on the page, an associative process takes over. And, all of a sudden, there are surprises. All of a sudden you say to yourself, ‘My God, how did this come into your head? Why is this on the page?’ I just simply go where it takes me.”