Monday, November 5, 2012

Free Writing or: How I Learned to Stop Grammar and Love the Rambling

If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

There’s something about a nice clean word document that makes you just want to keep it that way forever. The pristine whiteness. The vast expanse representing endless possibilities. Infinite chances to ensnare and captivate the reader all living in a single, empty page.

Well, that’s not completely true. 

There’s not actually some mystical epiphany inside that empty white rectangle that’s just biding time until it reveals itself to you. The word document, surprisingly, doesn’t hold the answers to your prompt question or the beginnings of your epic novel, or even next week’s winning lottery numbers, but you sure want to believe it after you’ve stared at one for a few hours and gotten nowhere. The truth is, that’s all in your own head somewhere. Except maybe the lottery numbers.

The key is unlocking it (see what I did there?). If your biggest problem when it comes to writing is getting started, your solution may lie in free writing. 

Free writing is when you give yourself a time limit, whether it be 5 or 30 minutes, and just start to write. Ignore spelling, ignore grammar, and, no matter what you do, keep typing or writing by hand or whatever method of transcribing you prefer. Keep your hands moving until the very end, even if you’re just ajandjfjfjgjgkjggnssbhshg;hhkwswjwkjktjkyjhjkk.

 It’s going to be brutal, probably the worst thing you’ve ever written and possibly the worst thing you’ve ever read, but that’s the point. When you free write you’re not trying to get any work done, you’re just trying to get into the writing mood. You know, that strange state of being where the words just pour out onto the page? That seemingly nonexistent quality you’ve only heard about in myth and whispered stories of that one girl in Curtis who wrote a 17 page research paper in one night and got an A? 

Yeah, it’s like that. And it feels fantastic.

- Gabi

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