Writing 101: Unlock The Mind

I can’t believe i’m actually sitting here doing nothing but writing…after a day filled with cat litter boxes, laundry, dishes and dealing with the Final Day (caps absolutely intended) of Spring Break, this feels as decadent as anything i’ve done in a long while. I used to teach middle school english, and always started each class with a ten minute free write. I never understood why the kids complained about not having anything to write, but now that i’ve got myself under the gun, I understand a bit better of what they felt. I need start feeling less like everything I produce needs to be a finished polished work right off the bat. There’s always room for improvement, dare to be wrong, dare to be less than perfect – just be honest. For a long while I felt that anything I wrote wasn’t good enough, I couldn’t even keep a journal because I felt guilty about jotting down some simple honest feelings whether they were good or bad. If I can’t be honest in a format that only I will read, how can I ever hope to try for anything more as a writer. After all these years, I do still consider myself to be a writer in my heart. I haven’t actually published anything except for that one chapter of fanfiction about 14 years ago…that’s probably the last thing I ever wrote, actually…weird.

So i’m not much for just stream of consciousness writing – I’m too much of a control-freak Virgo to actually let go enough to put anything to mind down on paper – I can’t even let spelling mistakes and punctuation errors go by without fixing them…trying to get better at that, letting go, not worrying about other people’s perceptions/opinions/perceived opinons…so far it seems to be working – at least I think it’s working, I haven’t bothered to ask anyone, so that’s got to be a good start.

I just looked at my timer: (see above notation about control-freak Virgo – I will not write a word more than 20 minutes once the alarm goes off, yes I set an alarm) and we’re sitting at about halfway – I should stop looking, beause then I start worrying about what i’m going to write. When I did this exercise with the middle-schoolers, I always told them, “If you don’t know what to write, then just write that!” Jesus, that was stupid…on so many levels. Sometimes, I just want to go back to my younger self and give her a good slap upside the head. This is so dumb, I feel like “publishing” a freewriting activity is a bit of a let-down after the rousing success of my “why don’t sharks eat clowns?” joke post (answer: read the post, it’s pretty funny).

I am not by nature someone who has problems deciding what to say, but just writing anything that comes to mind seems to dam everything up. It must pass through a worthiness filter before being allowed access to the typing neurons. Can you tell biology was not a strong suit of mine? I know enough, let’s leave it at that… This actually might be a better thing to do with a pencil and paper – it’s harder to go back and make corrections when you’re writing things, but then i’ve been writing fluently for far longer than I have been typing flurently. I am a do-it-yourself typer, I never took classes in keyboarding when I was in highschool, and was a hunt-and-pecker (*snicker*) for most of my adult life. At some point along the way, a typing speed was required of other jobs I took on, and so while I learned how to type relatively quickly and somewhat accurately, it still feels a bit foreign, like speaking French, but thinking in English. I see the words that I type in script in my head.

Watched the 2010 version of Robin Hood today – it actually did not suck as bad as I thought it might. I was curious (being Canadian) how much Alan Doyle (from legendary Canadian folk rockers Great Big Sea) was featured in it


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