Free-Writing Exercise

The results of an exercise I did a long time ago. Just found it and it cracks me up. A gift to myself from the past.
[7/15/2006 6:30:00 PM]

This is a test of what I can write. I have nothing in mind at the moment, but folks say that if you just turn on the tap, eventually something will come out. Let’s hope it’s not just a blast of hot air.

Typing, typing away, without a thought in my head.

Lah-de-dah. You’re supposed to just keep tapping on the keyboard without stopping, because stopping is the enemy.

Why? Well, because when you stop, you usually start thinking. You know, that’s where “Let me stop and think” comes from.

And if you want to be a writer, and you let yourself think, while you’re trying to write, the first thought that pops into your head—well, at least my head—is “You can’t write.”

So, I’m not gonna stop and think. I’m gonna go and type, and keep on typing until 8 p.m. With a few breaks for the bathroom, to get more coffee, to eat another few oatmeal cookies, and so on.

Oh, no, I want to stop. I need to stop. Cuz the notion of stopping wedged itself into my mind and now it’s getting some leverage.

There’s the timer for the cookies. Stopping . . .

[7/15/2006 6:47:04 PM]

Back now, still without a single compelling idea . . .

Which is just something I write without even thinking about it. Maybe I do have some compelling ideas. Let me try to list them:

  • A guy walks into a bar.
  • A girl walks into a bar.
  • A guy walks into a girl.

OK, that’s enough of that, since that clearly doesn’t work.

The thing is, I want the words to gush out of me, and for them to come together into a coherent form, without having to think.

But that’s akin to passive TV-watching, not writing.

This is writing. Man’s work. Something to be proud of. Something that I and I alone created, that I can show to people in order to get their approval.

Oh. Oh boy. A title idea: “Approval Magnet”! That’s a good title, but what does it mean?

Well, Window 1, I’m gonna jump on over to Window 2, to see what the fiery girl in the other story I have in the works is up to.

I’ll be back when my pathological self-hatred and severe lack of self-confidence drown out my thoughts over there.

[7/15/2006 7:02:23 PM]

OK, so I’m back now to this window. Things didn’t go so well over there in Window 2 just now. I got sidetracked into formatting, and you know how distracting that can be.

Just hopped on back over here to catch my breath and gain my momentum again, typing away and actually impressing the “paper” with “ink,” direct from my brain, so to speak, until I can gather up the nerve to return to Window 2.

I think I’m ready. Here goes!

[7/15/2006 7:17:11 PM]

OK, so this really sucks.

I keep getting all wrapped up in the details of a particular sentence, and fiddling with that, but I’ve got no mojo.

What’s propelling me forward? What is the story/memoir/opinion piece about?

Jesus. Constipation of the brain.

Cool song on KEXP now. I think it’s Silversun Pickups. [Checked to see] Yep.

The problem is, most of the ideas I have end up getting tinged with sadness/depression/whatever, and I keep those things to myself.

Blah, blah, blah.

Gonna check the Web now for writing exercises.

[7/15/2006 7:56:39 PM]

Well, this is going nowhere fast. Thought about driving down to Barnes & Noble to buy a book or two of writing exercises, but it seems beside the point right now. Right now, this minute, I need to write, nothing else.

[7/15/2006 7:58:49 PM]

Now I’m panicking.

[7/15/2006 8:02:19 PM]

Just reread what I wrote on this page so far. Not bad composition. I like the voice. So can I have this voice tell a story? Now?

Maybe I should start in the middle—in medias res, I think it’s called.

[7/15/2006 8:42:01 PM]

Nope, I’m gonna call it quits. I’ll try again tomorrow.

Photo about writing about writing by me, just now.