THOUGHTS ON JUST ‘WRITING’ FOR FUN AND PLEASURE AND FINDING HIDDEN BENEFITS IN THE PROCESS
Rivers of Words are flowing through my mind these days… I seem to be “writing” constantly: in my sleep, when cooking, feeding the cats, washing dishes, putting out the garbage and even when I’m shopping or at work. Words flow through my mind and I am compelled to jot them down, as if they were the crumbs dribbled along a path leading me to a secret destination. Or to show the way back home after getting pleasantly lost on a side track. There is no particular goal, no special reason, not even a definite idea as to where those words belong, what they are leading to, where they came from, where going. I am simply being led by words that pop into my mind and bring me new insights, new ideas, new paths of understanding to ponder.
Lists, as I have said before, are a staple of my every day… lists sometimes spawn new lists… today/ tomorrow/ long-term THINGS TO DO. The lists still continue now so I can keep track of my days, but at a more casual rate while other writing takes precedence.
In late September I began writing “Morning Pages” __ three full pages of “stream-of thought” scribbled in longhand, every day before doing any other chores. I’ve kept to that routine very faithfully and find it soothes me and helps me get off on a calmer, less harried path for the rest of the day. I find that writing pell-mell whatever comes into my head is like doing a meditation before starting the hustle of the day. Cleaning out the cobwebs and clutter of my mind.
In October I wrote daily through BIAM (Book in a Month) until I was stopped in my tracks by Jezebel’s sudden death. Now I am recovered enough from that to concentrate again on the writing of this story that I began over a decade ago.
“A ROARING DEEP WITHIN” is going through its fourth edit now as I write 50,000 words by the end of November for NANOWRIMO. (National Novel Writing Month) There is something very compelling to know that hundreds of other writers are working on their novels in this program at the same time!
This is an unstructured program that asks you to just write without editing your work… The goal is simply to have written the fifty thousand words. You may let your intuitive voice roam freely through your imagination, allow new ideas and twists into the plot without censoring them, bring in new characters, new situations, whatever, and just go with the flow!
It was difficult at first not to go back and reread what I’d written and then get into the usual correcting and editing routine… Or to look for some ‘guidelines or rules to follow… but now I feel a delightful freedom in the writing… I am even getting new ideas for new stories and jotting them down on the side (and these count into the fifty thousand!) Right now I am on a roll! I am up to 10,000 plus words by the tenth day (not quite keeping to the quota but close enough to make up quickly. That is my only agenda for today… tomorrow I go back to work and the pace necessarily slackens.
But best of all, at the end of this I expect that my old hackneyed, overworked story will have gained new life and I will feel energized to really finish it for publishing. Or at least get it to a point where I can dare have an editor look at it.
Then last night I enjoyed a whole other kind of writing event. I received a handwritten letter of several pages from a dear friend whose computer is down. I was delighted to read her long missile and felt moved to answer her immediately … not on the keyboard where I would normally go, but on real stationery, in long-hand, with an envelope and stamp! It was a bit like having a live conversation with her. It felt strangely intimate. I sensed her presence there with me in her handwritten letter. It was a beautiful experience and one I had not had since high school with pen pals or a boyfriend in the service. The “old ways” sometimes really are better for some things.
This morning, as I prepared to tackle the words for nanowrimo, I suddenly wanted to write a few lines to post in my Blog, for this, too, has become a compelling force of “connectedness” in my life. It is a place to record events and thoughts; to share and connect with others, and simply to preserve for remembering later. It seems that writing down my thoughts somehow… somewhere… provides me a sort of “life-line” that helps keep me sane. Or at least helps me stay on track with myself. Or get back on track when circumstances cause me to run off the rails momentarily!
So I am glad you are there to “follow” this ramble of words with me… and I invite any of you who are shy of writing to try one of these tricks… I have come to think that we all hold too many of our thoughts and words back from others for fear of exposing secrets and being embarrassed… shamed… wrong. It is a way that we keep ourselves “hidden” and therefore “unknown,” “invisible,” with only a small part of us “exposed” to the world! Alone.
I still do that too, but I always find that when I write it out, if only in my private journal, it releases some of those negative self-destructive thoughts. Even in the somewhat shallow venue of Facebook, we can open up a bit of our inner selves and it is surprising how much sympathy and empathy can be found in that very public place… (and just ignore any nasty judgmental comments… they only show the commenters shallowness.) Besides, it’s really okay to disagree respectfully … we are all unique and have a right to our own beliefs and ideas, so keep sharing them, it helps make the world a friendlier place. And take a chance on following those enticing crumbs of insight along the way. We never know what magical adventures may be waiting at the end of the trail.