When writing freely, it’s not just to put words on pages, bind them, and then proclaim something like, “Hey, I have a book now!” No, freewriting, as I see it, is about meditation, is about collection. Not thinking too much about mechanics or proper qualities to writing, but just writing, embracing your freedom as a writer, becoming enveloped in that freedom, and acknowledging yourself and your writing as renewed afterward. Polishing always comes later, I’ve stressed to students, since I first started teaching.
The focus of our freewriting culture and practice in this course will be prose, narrative, mostly nonfiction. Of course later, in the “polishing” stage, if you want to change names and locations to something fictive, that’s fine. But when we freewrite, which will many times be timed writings or length/word-count oriented sessions, the consistency will be first-person narrative, non-fictive, and as visual as possible. This first-person approach begets much of the freeness in the ‘freewriting’.
And why isn’t ‘freewriting’ broken up as a word, or hyphenated? Because, plainly, it shouldn’t be. Ever. Writing is freedom, and when we as writers write it should be to elevate our sense of freedom, to feel more free and liberated than we ever have before sitting down to a particular page. Freedom has to be fought for, as well, as a writer. There needs to be a discipline, a habit, a practice. Often, it’s self-liberation, as we push ourselves into moods and counterproductive habits… Precisely against what we need to rebel. For that creative liberty, sovereignty… IDENTITY.
First exercise: Time yourself, ten minutes, write as fast as you can about the last person you spoke to. Include everything. Their voice, their tone, their attitude and word choice, what you were thinking while they were speaking and everything else you can recall about the interaction. What was around you, the room you two were in… was there anyone around? All.