As you know I am taking a 2 week break from all things blogging and social media related to the blog. BUT I have a special treat for you today! My dear dear friend Allison is an amazing writer. Her poetry can bring me to tears & say exactly what is in my head. She can also make me literally roll on the floor laughing. Bottom line, she's AmAzInG!.....and she's guest posting for me today!! Please be sure to leave her some comment love.
Taking a Dump
Now, don’t get too excited because this isn’t a post about poop.
Or is it?
The kind of dump I’m talking about is a Brain Dump, or Free Writing.
As someone who gets stuck in ruts and blocks, I love Free Writing because it allows me to work around the block. In the process of Free Writing, either I get enough out of my system to say what I really wanted to say in the first place, or I come across something I didn’t know I wanted or needed to say. That being said, I need to be a little upfront and honest here.
I’ve hardly written anything the last two months.
It makes me feel silly; talking about something I’m not doing much of right now. But when Anna asked me if I would like to guest post for her, I started thinking about the “break” I’ve taken from writing. I realized that I’m just stuck in a block that I haven’t even tried tearing down.
So, maybe together we can break down a few walls.
What do you say?
Free Writing is a form of pre-writing, you get the ideas out first, then edit afterwards. You want to get as many words, sentences, and paragraphs out of your head and onto the page without any regard to spelling, grammar, etc. I realize that not editing as you write is hard for some folks. I understand completely, I do it allllll the time.
But don’t let that stop you. If an unedited word is going to keep you from moving on, then go ahead and edit.
Seriously, who’s going to catch you?
The Free Writing Police?
(That should, like totally be a band name…)
You just want to get the words OUT of your head. It doesn’t matter how it happens, just let it happen. There really isn’t a right or wrong way.
For an example of how things might work for you, let’s walk through my most recent Free Writing session.
When you Free Write, things aren’t always going to make sense.
Many times people set a timer and write whatever comes to mind until time runs out. I didn’t set a timer for this session, I just got my pen and paper and started writing. Each line is whatever I thought of as I wrote and sometimes the lines flow, but mostly they are disjointed.
After awhile you might find things are making more sense, a thought occurs to you and your brain starts running with it. I moved from the sporadic sorta, kinda flowing line to whole verses that flow.
Don’t be surprised if something comes flying out of left field.
Somehow, I jumped from nonsense, to sorta sense, to this poemish thingy. That’s what I mean about left field, you never know where a session will lead you. Somehow, my brain led me to this and I have no idea how.
If this poem makes it through the editing stage, I might possibly post it somewhere. However, it might not survive editing.
That’s totally okay.
Sitting down to write and “not getting anything” in the end doesn’t mean you failed. Sometimes you just have to get things out of your system to make way for the good stuff. It’s called a Brain Dump for a reason.
If you’re having issues getting started, here’s a few tips:
- Sometimes a change of scenery is all you need. If you can’t leave home, try a different room or take things outside instead.
- Go low tech! If you typically sit at a computer to write, try pen and paper for a change. Or vice versa, maybe you need to try typing instead of hand writing!
- If you’re having trouble focusing, try using a prompt. There are lots of sites out there with writing prompts, pick one and try using it to help you get started.
- Don’t get hung up on things being perfect from the start. This is technically pre-writing; it doesn’t have to be good. The good stuff can come later.
- Don’t be afraid to write for 20 minutes, just to scrap everything in the end. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes just writing is progress, especially when you’re like me and you haven’t written anything in ages.
So, what’s your favorite way to kickstart your creative juices?
Do you free write, if so, how do you like to get started? Am I just full of it?
Did this post end up being about poop after all?
Allison blogs over at Dropping Stitches about her (mis)adventures into college, knitting, writing, literature, pinterest, photography, coffee, and crayons. (But not always in that order). She also writes at Allison E. Hogue. Go. Now. Read it. It will move you.