So I’ve signed up for writing101 because I don’t even know. Today’s first assignment was to free write for 20 minutes. So… here goes nothin’. Hold on to your clavicles.
So between work, school, and master’s thesis, I must have gone completely mad because I just signed up for this. Why do I do this to myself? Am I addicted to stress? Maybe. Do I like people telling me what to do? No! So whyyyy?
Okay, so ever since this post I thought, not for the first time, that my English non-academic writing needed some work. And fiction writing in general. I’m so used to the whole academic thing I don’t even sound like a normal person anymore. So today I have to unlock my always muddled mind. This is like going telepathic on yourself, which basically means you can’t do it because you can’t actually read anyone’s mind because people are always thinking a million things at once. Like while I’m writing this I’m also thinking about the Pilates exercises I’ll probably do today, what I’ll mix in my lunch smoothie because haaaah, it’s 1 pm already and I just got up, so too late for a breakfast smoothie, I’m also trying to come up with the right tone of voice to say “Cower before my mighty bunny army!” because my kitchen is full of Easter candy, mostly bunny shaped.
Good gods, is this how every assignment is going to turn out? Why is my head so full of things anyway? Damn this stream-of-consciousness thing, who am I, Virginia Woolf? No, you know why? For one thing I’m still alive, and for another, I’m very decidedly not famous.
See, the problem is when you ask me what I’m thinking my mind usually goes blank like a new tab. And then two minutes after you stop talking to me it all comes back like a giant flood sent by a very angry and/or bored god. But while you’re there expecting me to show any kind of reaction? Zip. Nada. Nothing. I’m in a zen like state where thinking is impossible and I might just as well be one with the universe, and the universe is sending you a message: “Nothin’.”
Now Boyfriend came back into the room and whatever thought I had after the last one is gone as well. People in the same room kill it for me, I can’t write or even think when I’m being watched or if there’s even the remote possibility of being watched. It’s like being in the library, busily bent over your books, researching something or other, and suddenly there are footsteps, suddenly there’s someone browsing a shelf near you and you’re just thinking “Can I help you?!” and pretend you’re productive until they leave because suddenly you just can’t concentrate. Or, something more relatable perhaps, you’re on the internet, doing perfectly innocent things or maybe not, and someone stands behind you. What do you do? Open a new tab or go to Google until they fuck off. Please someone tell me I’m not the only one who does that.
So I have five minutes left to tell you something profound about the nature of writing. There isn’t anything. Not for me, anyway, I just write. Sometimes people ask me how I come up with ideas and I can only tell them I don’t, the ideas just beat down my door and sock me in the eye, I don’t have much choice. That’s writing, a creative hostage situation.
Now he’s looking again, good gods, stop looking! Stop staring at my screen! Do we have to do this like back in school during exams and put a heavy folder up between our seats so no one is gonna peek?
Oh, now you’re busy, that’s nice. Now the time’s up. Lesson for next time: write in the other damned room.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why editing was invented. Only I can’t because that’d be cheating. I mean, other than editing for orthography, because believe me, you don’t want a dyslexic bugger like me to free write without spell checking afterwards.
Okay, I’m done here, so now what?