Brought to you from THE DAILY POST Writing 101
In this inaugural assignment, let’s loosen up and just write. We’re so excited you’ve joined us — let’s get started!
I am very excited, the weekends are unprompted so we have 20 days of writing activities ahead, they are also cite Natalie Goldberg, who I love, her books gave me my first nervous strokes into the waters of writing beyond poetry.
Last year I put myself through so much study; workshops, day events, toolkits, lectures, online courses – this year I have concentrated on producing work and the study has taken a back seat, spurred on by my workshop this weekend I am ready to give over to this daily event and will do my best to post daily regardless of work and weekday busyness!
You write because you have an idea in your mind that feels so genuine, so important, so true. And yet, by the time this idea passes through the different filters of your mind, and into your hand, and onto the page or computer screen — it becomes distorted, and it’s been diminished. The writing you end up with is an approximation, if you’re lucky, of whatever it was you really wanted to say.
– Author Khaled Hosseini, “How to Write,” the Atlantic
To get started, let’s loosen up. Let’s unlock the mind. Today, take twenty minutes to free write. And don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write.
Keep typing (or scribbling, if you prefer to handwrite for this exercise) until your twenty minutes are up. It doesn’t matter if what you write is incomplete, or nonsense, or not worthy of the “Publish” button.
And for your first twist? Publish this stream-of-consciousness post on your blog.
The sun is shining through the blinds, which are shut, the brightness plays havoc with my eyes, squinting at the computer screen doesn’t help. I can hear traffic on the road, cars racing home before rush hour begins, although it is Monday, at the beginning of the week the traffic jams start around 4pm.
I have spent the whole day feeling washed out and glazed over, tired. I had an early enough night but woke at 5:30 this morning, before the larks I think! I couldn’t get back to sleep and it was after 7:30 before I set my alarm for quarter past eight. I woke up at 10.
I panicked as I was expected to take hold of a delivery and also I knew I had the whole day to write and sort the kitchen and I wanted an early start. I have been treading through treacle ever since.
The delivery came, two sun loungers with multi-coloured stripy mattresses, ready to relax on this summer, or hopefully before, if the weather picks up. The weather last week was particularly dreadful. I had the week off work, typically my plans to sun myself outside for the week were scuppered! The first weekend of the holidays my friends and I all took off to the South coast – in torrential rain and Bank Holiday nose-to-bumper traffic, the epic journey took over 5 hours of driving and it was over 4 before I unfolded my body, stopped driving and got out of the car. I realise anybody reading this from larger countries will think nothing of this journey but we can get to Scotland in seven hours and this journey took more than double the time it should have.
We had a great time but it wasn’t a long enough break, although I was happy I didn’t have to go back to work on Tuesday, like everyone else. Have only had a few days to relax since though. So busy, always so busy. I think it’s better that way, it keeps my mind off things, stops me thinking too deeply.
After spending the day alone writing (and cleaning), I am now adjusting to sharing the room again. The TV remote is in action and the channels are being flicked faster than I can type. The TV programme chosen is one that I won’t worry about missing from our (almost always full) planner. I find it hard to focus on free writing when there is a script and visuals that I can see just over the top of the laptop.
It is a film.
I love films. Love relaxing ready to watch one at home. Feet up on the settee ready for a whole world to open up around you, going places without ever having to move. I like them in cinemas too, the sheer luxury of it as it has become an expensive night out. We have a surround sound system but it’s not Dolby or attached to the walls and to have popcorn, we’d have to microwave it first.
My fingers tap lighter on the keys, so the narrative can be heard, I wouldn’t be able to watch a film with some tip, tapping away. It’s funny what affects some people has no impact on others. And yet sometimes if we are both watching something, even a shuffling foot can burst his audio visual bubble of focus.
I am aware of time now, I have been checking without stopping typing two or three times, I can glance down to the computer clock. But now it reads 17:05 and I know I have just 5 minutes of this un-interrupted free write left. I find it easier to free write by hand, something about the flow of ink, but I realised that part of the point of this assignment was to post our free writes and I know it would take me at least the same time again to type it up and I have a kitchen to finish cleaning. There is another load of washing up and rubbish to get rid of after a busy weekend. I managed to almost get on top of the laundry. Funny how there is only ever a window of a few hours before you are no longer ON TOP of the washing again!
In the last few minutes I find it amazing that this post is now over 1000 words (including the prompt itself) – we can work all day to get this many words written. Whether any of it will be useful is another question.
Leave your thoughts, I would love to hear which bits of this free write stand out and speak to you. I am going to read some from fellow Blogging /Writing 101 students when I have finished.
The clock tells me it is 17:10 – my 20 minutes is done. Deep breath now as I hit PUBLISH!
I so agree with your comment about writing by hand. It’s an entirely different experience of ‘free writing’. I still write letters by hand to an old friend. We’ve been writing for 25 years!
I share that love of communicating by post in ink too, I have also kept most of the letters sent to me in the past. They are special objects now, I never imagined a world would or could exist without letters dropping through the post, nowadays even the bills are online.
I have all my friend’s letters, too. Tied up in bundles in with string.
Mine are parcelled up in string too.
🙂 A kindred spirit!
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