I fancy myself a writer.

Free-writing is hard.

English: Screenshot from Linux software KTouch...

My keyboard foils my free-writing every time. | English: Screenshot from Linux software KTouch. An image of the Home Row keys for touch typing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m in a whining mood today, and can I just say this one thing? Free-writing is hard.

It’s not what I thought it was. I have two free-writing activities that I need to do for class this week, and the first one did not go well at all.

A good chunk of my free-write turned into me whining about how free-writing is so hard to do. But I’m supposed to write what comes to mind without thinking about it, right? And when I was doing this free-write, my thoughts about how hard free-writing is just kept taking over. So, now I’m going to whine about it in this here blog post for a few minutes and get it out of my system before I attempt to tackle the other one.

Here’s the thing. Despite the fact that I literally teach keyboarding and typing to college students, I am a horrible typist. I know the right way to do it, and I’m constantly harping at my students for not holding their hands the right way or using the wrong fingers to type each letter, or blah, blah, blah. Whatever.

I can’t type. I type all day, but I spend an inordinate amount of time reversing myself to try to fix words that I utterly f-ed up. While free-writing this morning, I literally began typing words backward. As in, “I don’t know tahw is it, tub—“ and suddenly several words in a row were completely backward! And that’s just how they came out of my fingers.

Just now, I had to stop and think really hard about how to spell “what” backward, but as I was free-writing earlier, the word just naturally came out of my fingertips exactly backward with no thought from me at all. So there it is, proof that I am backward.

Anyway, here’s what I discovered: Maybe free-writing on my laptop is not the right thing to do. Maybe I should do all my free-writes by hand. At least then I won’t have all of those squiggly lines under my horrendously misspelled words, begging me to come back and fix them.

Okay, rant complete. Back to work with my sorry ass now. How do you get into the free-write zone? Please comment below.

~Mandy Webster

By the way, what do you think is the “proper” way to refer to free-writing? Is it all one word (freewriting,) two separate words (free writing,) or should there be a dash (free-writing?) I can’t decide which I like best and am only using the dash right now because that’s how my current professor does it. Yes, I am a kiss-ass on top of everything else!

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6 responses

  1. Just like I’ve probably used free write, free-write, and freewrite, I sometimes compose on the computer, other times with pen and paper. (I use small notebooks that I can carry around and write down other things as well.) I find that my self-editor is harder to turn off when I’m at the keyboard, and it’s not just the spell checker and the automatic fix I have on some words I always type wrong (there are plenty I should add!).
    Try a free write (version of the day) on paper, then type in — I think you’d be allowed to correct mispellings, etc. then. The idea of the exercise, at least as I understand it, is to just let stuff tumble out. Some folks spend the first 15 minutes after waking up free writing. I would need a cup of coffee first!
    Good luck with your free writing — it does get easier. I have to shut down my self-editor which isn’t always that easy!

    September 19, 2012 at 8:32 am

    • My 2nd, handwritten free write went much better for me, but I am still having some difficulty shutting down the self-editor. A few of my writer friends have suggested drinking a bottle of wine first, then free writing!

      September 19, 2012 at 9:31 am

      • The bottle of wine techique sounds good!

        September 19, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      • How is the free-writing going? Did the wine help? Shutting down the self-editor is tough — maybe if you got her to drink a couple of glasses of wine, she would be less apt to impose all the rules of writing.

        September 25, 2012 at 10:51 pm

  2. I’m still working on it. Unfortunately, the wine just puts me to sleep! My professor says I should try purposely not writing in complete sentences to break away from that need to be grammatically correct.

    September 26, 2012 at 7:19 am

  3. Pingback: Two characters walk into a bar « Write on the World

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