“Why should I do that? I want to have a writing life.” Yeah, me too. Yet somewhere in the back of your mind strange thoughts emerge. What about Natalie Goldberg’s flash writing. Then, Julia Cameron sparked up her ‘morning pages.’ More and more, I am resisting these concepts of writing.
I remember writing morning pages and one morning where I wrote forever with only one simple sentence – I do not know what to write. I do not know what to write, and this continued until the alarm screamed at me. The clang brought my mind from a state of, who knows what, to an alert status and thousand of thoughts flowed through my brain. I tried to jot some down, but my daytime job called me from the depth of my abyss.
When you sign up for Na-No-Mo-Wri Month, you need the skills of speed writing, flash writing and no censor is allowed. This means, you start out with the pen on the paper, fingers on the keyboard and you do not stop for any errors, spelling mistakes, whatever else your mind tells you or Windows suggests.
There is no right or wrong. Your mind and your fingers are one of the same. You are flying on high with new ideas, new thoughts, new feelings and you have NO time to stop and examine what you have written. This is a go with the flow. In NoNoMoWri, you only keep track of the word count, and then at the end of the month, put all your gibberish away. DO NOT LOOK. Hide your work for a month. Then take a fresh new look. You will be surprised. In among the misspelled words, no paragraphs, no commas, no periods, you see, no make that read, the beginning of a story you wanted to write, but couldn’t. Why? your censor got in the way. Without, and we’ll call it him, your Muse had the lead on your head, heart and hands.
This is no contest, except for you as a writer. Take 15 minutes out of your day, preferably in the morning when the mind is still not quite awake, and you feel the creative juices begin to flow. You have a story, but nothing seems to connect. Thoughts flow by each day and you ignore them. Now, in this state of free writing, you want to address these issues. Is he gay is he straight; or does she have a secret lover or a wandering spouse? Whose baby is she carrying; her husband’s or her lover’s? Does the whole town know or is she just imagining the stares and cold shoulders?
STOP. Get up and walk around. Do some chores. Indulge yourself into another cup of java or tea. Run the vacuum. Just get moving.
Then free write for another 15 minutes. Do not look at what you wrote, but start with what is in your head. You are the creator of these words. Listen to what your character(s) want. Can you provide these avenues? If not, what dark side of the street can you take them.? Play with your characters. Take them in unusual places and watch how they react. Would this make a good diversion in your book?
STOP – and put the pages away in your safe place. If you have time, do this process again for another 15 minutes. This time, use different characters. These could be your secondary characters or a minor character, who just might make a big impact in your story. Funny, you never thought about this.
Then STOP, really stop. With all the pages hidden for the day, take your thoughts and mind over what you have discovered. Do you feel a new life in your story? Do some characters need more work or did you find a minor player, who could change the whole story? Are there images that keep sticking into your thoughts? Visualize. Think, Ponder. Replay again and again.
In a couple of days, pull these pages out and read from beginning to end. Is there a new story? Did you change the old story? Is the old story still prevalent, but some new character adds spice? Look over your words. You are the captain of your story and you hear yourself shout,”Full Speed Ahead.”
Enjoy your free writes. They can impel you to greater tight stories and what a wonderful feeling – the censor played no part as your fingers flew across the page or the keyboard. You will always feel great when your characters tell you their story.
Keep the censor in a locked drawer. Keep your muse on your shoulder and fly with free writing.