Friday, June 04, 2004

Free Writing Ain't Free

"Writing isn’t hard. It isn't any harder than ditch digging." -Patrick Dennis

I'm taking a writing class on Wednesday nights. Our instructor, Teresa Jordan, is an acclaimed author and she's whipping us into shape without mercy. She's not just lecturing about writing, or giving us some examples to consider, she expects all of us write right there in class, and then almost immediately read aloud some portion of it.

She understands that this isn't always easy or comfortable. The only rule of free writing is that once you start, don't stop, just keep the pen moving on the page.

And when it's your turn to speak, "Don't apologize, just read the crap," she tells us, quoting one of her writing mentors.

This "free writing" isn't free from stress or pressure, but it does free the mind in the way that exercise frees the body. I might not enjoy every lap I swim, but my almost daily swimming has made the water so much more inviting. Writing's rarely been easy for me, but with this class I'm already less intimidated by the prospect of an empty page.