(7 of 40) Freewriting

2:56 p.m.

As I often tell my students, Freewriting isn't free. Well, except for the ink freely flowing from your pen, it isn't free. Begin by setting a timer (your stove timer, or the APP on your cellphone), or by jotting down your start time so you can calculate as you go along. I usually ask students to write for ten minutes, but different time spans -- longer ones -- can yield impressive results. In WRITING THE MIND ALIVE: THE PROPRIOCEPTIVE METHOD FOR FINDING YOUR AUTHENTIC VOICE, Linda Trichter Metcalf and Simon Tobin recommend writing for 22 minutes, which is also the length of a piece of music they recommend listening to as you write. You can write on any topic you choose. But you have to keep writing.

What if you can't think of anything more to write and the clock is still ticking? Metcalf and Tobin suggest that you spin off from what you just wrote.

I love the blue sky today. What do I mean by "blue"? It is mostly blue with gauzy clouds like voile curtains, and few other clouds like cotton balls. The blue is a robin's egg blue, no that can't be right. Sky blue? I need a box of crayons. What do I mean by "love"?
Heather Sellers, whose books are PAGE AFTER PAGE and CHAPTER AFTER CHAPTER (two of my faves), suggests drawing a little spiral, from the inside out. It must be Natalie Goldberg -- but maybe Peter Elbow -- who first defined freewriting and said to write "I don't know what to write. I don't know what else I can say. This is a dumb assignment!" until your brain switches back on and gives you something better.

That's my freewrite on freewriting.

3:09 p.m

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