Freewrite Rewrite – FIRST Friday Freewrite (#56): “An Old Friend…”

No rules – Just write!

First-Friday-FreewriteOkay, that slogan may be a play on the words of an Outback Steakhouse commercial, thus making it a pun of highly dubious cleverness…but it really seemed to fit my approach to this “new and improved” Friday Freewrite, or Friday Freewrite Rewrite, if you will.

What’s New?

  • NO TIME LIMIT (unless you want one).  In the past, I have imposed a time limit (90 seconds).  This was put in place to unblock us as writers, not to limit us.  When “freewriting,” I have found it is important to write fast, ahead of our internal critics that tells us “wrong word,” and “that doesn’t make sense.”  A time limit forces me to get my words down as quickly as I can without pondering them, second-guessing myself, and crossing things out. What I’m hearing from others, though, is that the time limit is stressing them out and getting in their way…so, no mas!  The bottom line is, rules can help us stretch as writers, but as we’ve all heard, they were made to be broken. What’s most important is that we write, with regularity and with honesty.  The rest is immaterial.  So, if a time limit helps you, use one; if not, then don’t.  Let go, have fun, and write!
  • ONCE A MONTH.  The new Friday Freewrite will appear each first Friday of the month only.  This will remove pressure for those of you who feel you are freewriting constantly (you know who you are).
  • WHATEVER YOU WRITE IS “RIGHT.”  This isn’t new, but I want to emphasize that you can’t do the Friday Freewrite “wrong.”  Did you see the jump line ahead of time, and now you’ve thought about your response and it feels contrived?  Maybe you saw today’s topic, then decided to check your e-mail, burned a piece of toast,  let the dog out, and then made another piece of toast.  Should you worry that you’ve now had time to think about the topic?  Absolutely not!  Just keep going. The point is to write.  I write on the Friday Freewrite prompts, and I’m the one who’s conjured them up, so you know my responses aren’t totally organic.  It’s okay!  Just put pen to paper and keep going.  That’s it!  Remember:  Don’t think.  Don’t cross out. Just start with the prompt and see where it takes you.

With that said, welcome to the First Friday Freewrite!

Here’s how it works: I post a “JUMP LINE,” a short phrase that will serve as a writing prompt, each first Friday of the month.

YOU put pen to paper and write. (I’ll do it, too, of course.)  Don’t think.  Don’t cross out.  (That is wise advice borrowed from Natalie Goldberg in Wild Mind.)  Just start with the prompt and see where it takes you.

Then POST YOUR RESPONSE as a comment.  (Just click the comment bubble  to the right of the post title to leave a reply.)

Today’s jump line:  “An old friend…”

Happy Writing!


3 thoughts on “Freewrite Rewrite – FIRST Friday Freewrite (#56): “An Old Friend…”

  1. …called and I didn’t pick up. Knowing that she was reaching out, I still let her message go on and on until she hung up. In the middle of something I couldn’t put down, I let the moment pass by. I have always hated being interrupted.

  2. …came during visitation hours. I never imagined I’d see him again. It’s funny how we hold onto an image of someone from our past. His very long hair was gone now. But, here he was right in front of me. He checked out my still long but now very gray hair. The last time we talked we didn’t really. It was back in the party days and we both overused and abused the candy and the brews. The music was loud and the crowds of hangers on came and went. We swapped some stories and jokes in our party stupors, he packed what he came for and stashed it neatly in tight wrapped cellophane packages and tarp covered rows in the trunk of his old white Ford Galaxy. Somehow we managed to believe we would always be friends no matter what. The foggy conversations seem such a vague memory after all these years. I picked up the phone on my side of the thick glass window. There was no missing the faint reflection of the guard standing to the right and rear of me. I managed a “Hello Joe. It’s been years.” into the mouthpiece. Joe responded with a “Yeah, it sure has man. Hey, you ok? You gonna make it through this brother?” He had to have noticed the phone shaking slightly as I tried to form an answer. “What?”, Joe asked. “What did you say?” My voice was clearly weak. “Twenty years Joe.”, I squeaked. “They gave me twenty years.” I saw the guard’s reflection shift a bit on the prison glass window that separated Joe from me. “Yeah, I know”, Joe replied. “How you holding up man?” Joe shifted in his visitor’s chair and looked away when the phone fell from my shaking hand and I began to sobbing like a child.

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