I know many writers who keep extensive diaries writing in them everyday. I find it hard to keep one and always have. I remember when 5 year diaries were the fashion for birthday presents and I wrote for five years straight around the age of 10. But I only wrote down mundane things never anything of value. My diary writing has not progressed much since then. That’s why BLOGS are good. TWITTER also. They are both forms of diary entries. With twitter you have to be brief – only 120 characters for each Tweet. I now backup my tweets because I know a friend whose tweets disappeared completely. FREE WRITING is another way to write about the immediate. I first learnt about free writing when I read Natalie Goldberg’s wonderful book on writing called Writing Down the Bones. The rules are simple:
1. No thinking
2. No punctuation
3 Write down anything that comes to mind
4 Write without stopping
Gradually you’ll find that as your handwriting loosens up so too do your thoughts. These free writing exercises are not meant to be shown to anyone because a lot of the time they are meaningless. They are more like the ravings of a lunatic. But sometimes, just sometimes, there will be a phrase that stands out like a pearl, or an insight that you would never have got to in your logical/rational state of mind.
Here’s an example of a free writing exercise. I gave myself the words ‘the chair’ and a 3 minutes time limit, then let my mind wander freely
‘The chair came into my life and like a bell it rang with its wooden legs everytime I thought of it I came to a place that was full of water the sound was like a waterfall falling from the sky and then the sky opened and sucked all the water up into it and spat it out over the ocean this is a funny exercise I have to write for 3 mintues I am a person who gets tired when I write with a pen I like using the computer jars of honey ooze out of the cupboard the doors close and the honey goes to sleep.’
To me the pearl here is the line ‘jars of honey ooze out of the cupboard the doors close and the honey goes to sleep’
I will probably never be able to use it in my work, unless perhaps I start writing poetry, but the idea of honey going to sleep could only come about through this type of radical free thinking.