One of the assignments given in Public Speaking/Writing for Publication class last week was entitled “Free Writing.” The directions were to simply write whatever came to mind for between 7 and 10 minutes, and then submit it, unedited, to our professor.
“Simply write…” Ha!
The assignment pressed a bunch of my buttons, because of its specific lack of specificity.
I did the only thing I could to comfort myself: I set my time for 8.5 minutes – exactly halfway between the allotted time frame – to give me some semblance of… something between control and doing it the right way.
No, I don’t put any pressure on myself to stay at the top of my class – and my remarkably stringent set of self-expectations. Nuh-uh. No way. 😉
Here’s what I wrote in 8.5 minutes:
I don’t know all that I want to know. I don’t say all that I want to say. I don’t hear all that I want to hear.
My heart and mind are overflowing with information and emotions that are unidentifiable, whether for true lack of understanding or an inescapable fear of recognition.
Wayward thoughts creep through my mind every second of every day, and even into sleep. I find myself waking up from dreams and continuing a conversation with I don’t know who.
Unprovoked emotions flit and float and fleetly flee, and others thud in my chest like a boulder under which I’m pinned and unable to seek help or find the strength to move it myself.
I’ve always been a thinker, but my thinking has taken a turn.
It’s of spirits and universal understandings and spiritual hierarchies, and the reality of goblins and demons and elementals, the last of which I’d be glad to meet up with whereas the two before it I’d as soon avoid, except that in the avoidance I’m not helping.
Sometimes I feel as though I’m a saturated washcloth being wrung out of every last drop of water. And for what? For reuse? For hanging out to dry? For emptying me of every last drop of resistance so I will finally surrender?
I have aptitudes that some people perceive as attitudes in their gross misunderstanding of what I’m about and who I am. Sometimes it hurts and other times it doesn’t matter and I know it’s in the not mattering that my true essence dwells and grows and evolves.
I typed those words with my eyes closed so I wouldn’t get hung up by the process, and so I wouldn’t critique myself. When I read them, it was as though I was reading someone else’s thoughts, even though I knew they were my own.
I was surprised by the rivulets of anguish in amongst the prevailing thirst to know more and serve more, no matter the personal cost. I was (am) pleased by the understanding expressed in the last sentence.
I was shocked I had so much to say, and yet glad. I’d thought that I might end up with a few sentences because I couldn’t imagine that I’d have anything significant to write about.
I ended up with a reflection on where I’m at and where I’m heading, and a clear idea as to what I need to give my attention to… and what I don’t.
Over to You
Have you ever tried free writing? What might you write in 8.5 minutes? What truth might be revealed to you if you gave yourself free rein?