Freewriting for Solutions

I’ve been moving swiftly along this week because I’m rewriting scenes that have the same bones as draft 1. BUT. Now I’m to the part where I have to make some decisions and probably go in a different direction because the last third of draft 1 didn’t quite work. Each idea was OK, and I worked through each issue to the end of the story, but it was all pretty flat and boring. Since then, I’ve had some vague ideas for solutions, but when I try to turn them into real, workable solutions, they disintegrate. Or just lay there all flat and boring.

This probably means I need brand new, totally different ideas.

Fortunately, I have a mostly empty notebook and a bunch of pens in various colors, so I’m all set to brainstorm and freewrite my way into a new ending.

By the way, almost every writing advice book I’ve read recommends freewriting. It is apparently an essential component of being a writer. I remember doing ten-minute freewritings on legal pads every day in one of my first writing classes at Pensacola Christian College back in 1993. I particularly like Natalie Goldberg’s description of the process in her book Writing Down the Bones:

“The basic unit of writing practice is the timed exercise…The aim is to burn through to first thoughts, to the place where energy is unobstructed by social politeness or the internal censor, to the place where you are writing what your mind actually sees and feels, not what it thinks it should see or feel.

  • Keep your hand moving (Don’t pause to reread what you’ve written)
  • Don’t cross out
  • Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar
  • Lose control
  • Don’t think; don’t get logical
  • Go for the jugular (If something comes up that is scary or naked, dive right in; it probably has lots of energy)

Explore the rugged edge of thought. Like grating a carrot, give the paper the colorful coleslaw of your consciousness.”

I may not end up with a lot of words today, but hopefully I figure out how to bring all the threads of my story together at the right times so they can get in a huge tangled mess right before I turn them into something pretty at the end. Or maybe all that freewriting will unleash some writing mania and I’ll end the day with hundreds of words. We’ll see!

Goldberg, N., 1986. Writing down the bones. Boston, Mass.: Shambhala.

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