So I remember when I was in the classroom, (something I’m missing at the moment, btw) writing with my students, and there would be days when we’d come in and as soon as the bell would ring (or I guess it was more like buzz) we’d all take out paper and just do a Wild Mind, Natalie Goldberg 7 and a half minute freewrite where we’d pour, literally, everything that was in our brains out through our arms and fingers and pens and pencils onto the page as fast as we could, without ever stopping, just writing “I have nothing to write about, I have nothing to write about” if that was what was in our brains and eventually, that wasn’t what was in our brains and we moved on to whatever it was, like the traffic officer at San Francisco airport earlier, this gentle looking older woman somewhere between 55-70 who almost duked it out with a insolent cab driver who parked right in the crosswalk and didn’t answer when she threatened him with a $350 ticket and almost drove over her foot as he left, watching her in the rearview mirror as she wrote down his license plate, shaking her head back and forth, or how the baby three rows back on the plane who wouldn’t stop crying reminded me of Tess when she was like six months old and the nice stewardess who offered to hold her for a few minutes only to have her launch a stream of vomit all over her new, dark blue dress with the gold buttons, or this hotel room which is nice enough, or this workshop tomorrow where I get to meet some of the people who are making me think the hardest, all the while wondering when these silly seven and a half minutes will be over and why it’s so hard to blog sometimes (like now, like these last few weeks) even though it’s such an ingrained, rooted, deep-seated habit that I find almost as hard not to do as it is to do, and thinking that this is a really stupid blog post that no one will want to read and not really caring because every now and then I just have to open up a vein and let it all run out, whatever it is, however stupid, however meaningless or trite because this is where I write these days, not on paper, not on a typewriter, not in a word processor (which is so different from a food processor) and I have one minute left and I’m thinking I’m going to have to post something else really fast so this doesn’t stay on the top of my blog for very long so that not so many people will read it until I remember that damned, dreaded RSS feed that’s gonna shoot this sucker out the moment I post it, after, of course I go to Flickr and try to find a suitable image that is Creative Commons licensed and finally, the buzzer on my iPhone just went off.
Move along now…nothing to see here.
(“Golden Gate, by Moonlight ” by MumbleyJoe)
Technorati Tags: freewrite
Harold Jarche says
Whew, I’m out of breath reading it!
Gay Pogue says
Thanks for reminding us that this is where we start every year. In Texas with the state test looming, it is easy to forget that real creativity, and ultimately great writing scores, begin here. I am this minute sitting in Goldberg country and remember spotting her coming out of a cafe once. I had attended one of her workshops and found it inspiring. Today I videoed the tram ride to the top of Sandia Mountain instead of personally focusing on the images and sensations. Maybe the images will spark something in my flatland students. Or not. It may at least help me to write on my Elmo in front of them.
Thank you for your blog.
My new blog for my parents and students is just a shell at this point, so I send you to my art blog. http://www.savvystingaree.com
LOL- gosh you can go like the wind in seven and half minutes!
Pamela Carr says
I have just started my blog (because of you,
Will, btw) so this was a fun entry to read. I have only made two entries so far but have had one response and that made me very happy. So anyway, thank you for reminding me that it takes some time to get into a regular “blog groove” but even when you are there, you might have some off days! Thanks for the laugh and the lesson.
Fred Koch says
That was fun and funny… didn’t know I could read so fast. Thanks!
See you in Vernon Hills, IL later this month.
Rick Weinberg says
I really enjoyed this blog post. It kinda confirmed to me, as a knew blogger, that it is ok to free write like this sometimes. Thanks for this post.
Too funny! I love Natalie Goldberg and have notebook after notebook filled with this type of writing. Okay, I should get rid of them because some of them are from the early 1990’s. Now I try NOT to write stream of consciousness stuff on my blog. Not so good at it. Bravo on opening up to blog days of summer. Hard times.
Tracy Rosen says
Too late – we’ve all read it!
Thanks for the reference to that book…I’m going to have to check it out.
Great stuff, Will.
That was fun and funnyâ€¦ didnâ€™t know I could read so fast. Thanks!
I liked it too…
John Pederson says
I’m listening to the podcast. 🙂
Chris Lehmann says
Dude… SLA teachers would love to have you guest teach any time you get the teaching bug. Loved the free write, I might have to do it myself… I had a great writing book that called it “Ribe Tuckus.” Sit in your seat and write.
I can still picture the lady taking down the license plate number. It is amazing how thoughts pour in and out of our heads. I loved reading this post.
Mary Warren says
Whew, glad you got that off your chest!!
Chris Craft says
For what it’s worth, that was a heck of a lot of fun to read! Do it more often, we’re here to help!
Sherry Crofut says
I needed a fun read after reading the Scholastic article. Anxious to hear your thoughts on that!
Antonio Viva says
Using Natalie Goldberg’s book, “Writing Down the Bones” with my Creative Writing class this year. Great post and huge fan of her work. The signs of football on TV have officially marked the end of my summer. Feeling very much the same way!
Will, I had to laugh when I read this entry. I love to free write every day. I’ve been keeping a “journal” for years and it’s basically always stream of consciousness writing. I never gave it much thought that I was actually developing my creative side. As a matter of fact, I have often written “why am I writing this drivel everyday?” Glad to find that I am benefiting from the mind exercises.
As I write day to day, and after reading all the incredible blogs out there, I am starting to get a nagging sensation that just won’t quit – I need to start a blog of my own….. just for the sake of communication and self expression in my many interests.
Your workshops are wonderful. Thanks for a great blog. Keep up the good work.
Wonderful, fun, light-hearted post. I’ve been knee deep in meetings and shoulder deep in prep for the new year; thanks for the moment of whimsy.
Best blog I’ve tonight. Wasn’t stupid at all. You want studpid? Read my blog before I delete it.
Joan Vinall-Cox says
I’m homesick now for the classes where we freewrote using Goldberg’s advice. Worked even for reluctant writers. Such a release – I’m sure it was good for our mental health!
Tim Merritt says
Will – thanks for pouring it out on the page for us. (I know you did it for yourself, too.) Your energy and resolve and example provide a needed goad for me, when I just don’t feel like it.