A Note On Free Writing

As we are all keenly aware, WoW is in the summer slump.  It has even hit our guild.  People are taking time off, raiding has slowed, recruiting has even been weak, to say the least.

But that gives us great opportunities to pursue other avenues of leisure time, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  Heck, I turned on the TV, and watched “Prime Time” television for the first time in months!  (OK, not entirely true.  I did watch LOST, but I turned TV on for that, then turned it right back off after.)  My current guilty pleasure is America’s Got Talent.  Sharon Osborne is just a complete riot.

Anyway, a couple of days ago my internet took a dump, and quit working (we all LOVE AT&T, right?), and I was left with a whole lot more free time than I am used to.  No raiding.  No WoW at all for that matter.  No You Tube.  No random surfing.  All I had was my iTunes library, and Word.  Being completely bored out of my mind (nothing was on TV, and it was too late to go do anything outside, of course), I just opened word and started Free Writing.

For those of you who are not familiar with free writing, let me explain.  I have always had trouble writing fiction.  I could write anything for school, any essay, any research paper, but when it came to creative writing, I always had trouble.  In my freshman year of high school, my teacher, thoroughly fed up with giving me abysmal marks on creative assignments, taught me about free writing.

Basically, free writing is just that, you write freely.  Set a time – 10 minutes or so, and put your pen to the paper (or hands to the keyboard, whatever is more comfortable for you), and write.  Don’t stop until the time is up.  Don’t pause.  Just write stream of consciousness.  Whatever comes to mind, put on paper.  Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation, spelling, sticking on topic, anything.  Just write.  After the time is up, then go back and see what is there.  DO NOT CONFUSE THIS with “Unconscious” or “ESP” or “Telekinetic” writing (there are many different names for it, none of them really proper).  In that case, you don’t pay attention to what you are writing, you distract yourself with another activity, reading, television, game playing, whatever, and you just move your pen on the paper and see what comes out.  No, this is something that you want to pay attention to.

Free writing is great for writing blocks.  It’s great for people who are overly critical of what they are writing.  Its great for people like me, who just have general trouble writing fiction.  It allows you to pull ideas out of your head without having a worry of critique, or grading, or deadlines, or whatever.  Free writing can be very personal for some people.  And just as often as it works, it sometimes does not.

In my case, while I was free writing, I did spit out a single lonely sentence that intrigued me.  It was about 5 minutes into a 10 minute session, and it kept bugging the hell out of me.  Because the sentence had nothing to do with what I was  writing about before or after it.

So, after the 10 minutes were up, I went right back to that sentence, and I moved it over to a new document and started building on it.  I thought I could make, maybe, a two page exposition on it.  But, miraculously that is not what happened.  What happened is that I wrote.  And I wrote longer than I had in ages.  And, truth be told, I am still writing on it.  It has become a very personal project for me.  I find myself thinking about the next part, the next part after that, and how I am going to get to the end.  I have this overwhelming drive to get the story out of my head, a story that, not two days ago, I didn’t know I had in my head.

And so, now I find myself hesitating to log into WoW – something for two years I have not ever experienced.  Sure, I have other things to do, but when it came down to the evening, raid time, daily time, weekly time, it was WoW time and I logged in and had fun.  For the past few days I have had to pull myself out of my writing to log in.  And even then, my mind is wandering back to the written word.

What had started as a time killing project while I was waiting for my net to be fixed, something that I thought maybe would take me an hour at the most, two pages max, has grown into about 5 hours of work and 16 pages (I know for some of you big time fiction writers, this is nothing, but sheesh, this is BIG for me).  It has become an exploration of my own mind, my own creative processes.

And I am not done.  As I have these thoughts, these ideas flowing through my mind, I can easily see that it is going to double in size, becoming a short story.

SO, back to the point.  If you find yourself needing distraction away from WoW, and want to explore your own mind, I would encourage you to free write.  Perhaps you will be as surprised with yourself as I am of myself.  🙂

P.S. – This is the first post without spell check.  It’s amazing what you can force your mind to do when you know you can’t be lazy!

8 Responses to “A Note On Free Writing”
  1. Elyndynne says:

    *cough* America’s *cough* again, possession apostrophe.

    Turns out I don’t know how to spell abysmal (looked it up) 😉

    I am not ready to step away from WoW yet, but I can feel the urges building up – like I’m wasting time doing that when I can be doing other things!! Ah, my closet calls….

    • Firespirit says:

      Fixed, thanks! And, yes, with the slow down of WoW, ive been thinking of a lot of other things I could be doing. I haven’t come close to unsubbing though. Just, you know, time away from WoW might not always be a bad thing 🙂

  2. Nymesis says:

    ‘Its great for people who are overly critical of what they are writing.’

    I believe it should be It’s as its a conjunction of it and is.

  3. Nymesis says:

    Your sentence might flow better like this.

    ‘a story, that not two days ago,’

    • Firespirit says:

      Nym! Welcome!

      I just want to take the time and clarify for those of you reading comments, that this is PERFECT!. I have never thought of myself as a writer. But, I have always, ALWAYS strived to be better at what I do. Poke, pick, prod, and make me a better writer!

      Thanks for the input Nym, and feel free to stick around and comment more! 🙂

      • Nymesis says:

        Thank you so much. I always feel bad when I comment regarding corrections. Just wanted to mention that you have Forbearance listed as retired, but Jong has been blogging again. If he keeps it up you might want to remove him from the retired list.

  4. Tutunkommon says:

    I understand. My story is up to nearly 50k words, and it started from one sentence that got stuck in my head:

    “Llaewyn stopped running; he knew he was going to die.”

    Ironically, that sentence isn’t part of the story anymore. I would love to hear / read what you have so far!

    Oh, and I have even started thinking about WoW again! lol!

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