No rules – Just write!
Okay, 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.
- 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…”