This is no Free-Writing 101 class. Not as far as I’m aware anyways.
I have, however, tried free-writing for the first time. After learning about free-writing with The Writer’s Studio Online, I dove in. I set a timer for ten minutes and poised my hands over the keys. I didn’t want to. Ten minutes seemed like an awfully long time to write. It was also intimidating to just write about whatever came. I like structure. Goals. Writing towards something.
Even when I journal, I am venting, letting out the things that I would not normally say out loud. Words that were just for me.
But I have signed up for this program to push myself, learn new processes and create new boundaries for my writing. So I wrote for just over ten minutes, actually, as the time flew by and I wanted to finish my thoughts that had formulated before Siri told me it was time to stop.
Archer stopped to play with a friend after school while I stood and waited under this beautiful tree
Here is an excerpt from what I wrote in my first ten minutes of free-writing:
In trying not to think too much about what I’m writing, I find that the words still flow.
I have always trusted the words, felt them flowing through my fingertips, at speed that is sometimes slow, and sometimes so fast that my fingers cannot keep up with my thoughts.
My thoughts are fuzzy this week. I have been feeling symptoms of a cold, and while I have been giving what little energy I have to my kids and running our household, napping and taking care of my physical self, I have dedicated little effort to exercising my brain.
I have found recently that I feel as though my true self is hiding under the persona that is mom. Wife. Home maker. And while I am those things, I want not to ignore the woman inside. The one that is me. She was me before my kids or husband came along, and she will be me well after they leave my home. My kids, hopefully not my husband.
I have thought on the surface about what it means to me to be a mother. It means that I have responsibility for two little lives that are just learning the ropes in this big bad world. I feed them, clothe them and help them navigate their feelings in this world. Most of the time, it seems simple for them. They want to play and eat and sleep. But a quote that I read the other day really resonated with me. I will try to paraphrase it here: Our children, during their moments of big emotion, need us to be the calm for them while they explore feeling overwhelmed. They don’t need us to join them in their big feelings. We are the calm. We are the reason while they do not know what reason is.
I'm not entirely sure how often I will free-write, but I am happy to have been introduced to this new approach to writing.
The words read almost like a journal. I recognize repetitions and see my writing style develop. One of the tricks to free-writing is not to edit or think or double-check words. Just write. I closed my eyes for the most part, using a quick spell check in Word to make sure my typing was up to snuff before I published them here. The goal is to write for yourself and not anyone else, but I felt good about sharing an excerpt of the 881 words I wrote here, in a blog post for you.
This process encourages your writing juices to ramp up and can be a good approach with writer’s block. Just think, just do. I feel great after giving this free-writing thing a shot. And I think the principles are applicable to real life as well. Whether it be free writing, or just allowing yourself to be free.
Put the phone away. Stop over-thinking. Be present.
The rest will fall into place.
I call this one "Sheep on a Rug". Photo Credit: Maverick Everest