Everyone seems to love freewriting. Julia Cameron, with her morning pages, even Sarah Selecky in her
Story is a state of mind
online course (which I’ve just started). Everyone in writing classes and conferences and lectures and such tell we learning writers to just write and write and write, and never mind the level of crap that spills from our pens.
The aim is good – get the writer over the hump of feeling ridiculous or frozen into immobility.
I’ve got a million journals filled up with my scrawling, and then there’s this blog thing. I love writing down vignettes of scenes at the coffee shop, doodling writings with the starter of “I remember”, digging in my head to clarify my thinking, sort out my loose threads, play with the colours of the windmills of my mind.
I seek comfy pens that can skim across the page without slowing my thoughts. I choose journals carefully so the paper has just the right give.
Have I published a lot of stories, novels, articles?
Nope. I’m having too much fun freewriting with my writing time. It’s easy. It doesn’t need a plot, well-drawn characters, believability. I can tell myself I am a writer simply because I am writing, right? It’s not about having people read my writings, is it?
I would actually argue that most freewriting is really another source of procrastination. Sure, if you can’t get going, do a bit here and there. Explore a thought while you warm up your creative mind.
But Cameron’s 3 pages daily risks exhausting that creative spark on what really often ends up being pages of dreck.
Sure, sometimes there’s something to mine from the pages. Sometimes an idea will pop up that is worth pursuing. Not often, though.
What needs to happen is the hard work of writing a coherent story, rewriting it, and finding it a home. Clutch your inner editors in an embrace and welcome them then – they are just what you need.
Because writing is meant to be good. It’s meant to mean something. It is meant to be shared.