Unlocking the mind

June 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

Writing 101, Day One.

Today, take twenty minutes to free write.  And don’t think about what you’ll write.  Just write.

Easier said than done, eh?

On the weekend whilst I was faffing around with my new travel blog, I came across this writing challenge put on by The Daily Post – “Writing 101: Building a Blogging Habit”.  YES, I thought, this is exactly what I need!  Some inspiration and motivation!  Like so many other spontaneous ideas of mine, when it comes to sit down and start working, all traces of inspiration and motivation have vanished.

Write for twenty minutes, this challenge says.  Freestyle.  Carpe diem!  I half wince at the idea of what might come spewing out in twenty long minutes… raw, unedited.

Ironically enough, I picked up a pen the other day for the first time in months and started writing for no reason other than my fingers were tingling.  I needed to write.  Some people have a genuine, untarnished love for writing.  Others, such as myself, find it both a gift and affliction.  When I was a teenager, I let writing and “being a writer” define my identity and my place in life, in the world.  As an adult, I struggled more and more to find the time to continue what I saw as a hobby then awoke one day with horror to find I “couldn’t” write anymore (of course this is dramatic artist talk, however the reality was that the words just didn’t flow like they used to, in fact, I couldn’t even get them to trickle).  Once I had made up my mind that I was “no longer a writer”, I then proceeded to have an identity crisis over the next few years, wondering what/who I was if I wasn’t a writer?

For the most part, that little crisis passed – without the purchase of a token sports car – and I have settled into a mostly comfortable space which sits between writing when I can and knowing deep inside that I am still a writer (of sorts) and beating myself up for not writing enough and wondering if that flow will ever return.  Age makes me complacent; I figure that for now, it is what it is.  Writing has served a purpose in my life thus far and I have some faith that, if I need it to, it will continue to serve a purpose for some time yet.

Gosh, that took thirteen minutes.  See, I am rusty.

Have you ever noticed that there is something in your life that, more often than not, gets you “in the mood” for writing?  For me, it is music – but a certain type of music.  Usually heartfelt, moody, slightly melancholy (though I refer to it as “mellow”) music (think Jose Gonzalez, selected Snow Patrol & John Mayer, Mazzy Star etc).  I finally made the connection only a few weeks ago that one of the reasons I hardly write anymore is because I don’t get many opportunities to sit around drinking red wine, smoking cigars and getting all moody listening to my mellow music.  Mostly it’s because I think this would freak my kids and my husband out… I suspect my poor husband has some form of writing PTSD – over the years he has learnt to associate me taking time out to write with the fact that I am in some way unhappy or dissatisfied.

See what I mean about it being an affliction?  Writing is without a doubt a creative process; it is an art form, and like many artists, writers can be truly tortured souls.

Well, there you go.  That’s twenty minutes and I don’t know about you, but I am bloody exhausted.

See you tomorrow.


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