I have to read three different books about writing techniques for my Intro to Creative Writing class and I admit, it’s a lot to process. There are so many elements I just don’t think about anymore and others that are second nature.
More than once I’ve read about the importance of just writing without thinking. That seems a foreign concept to me because I’m always thinking and if I’m not thinking, how can I write?
A few nights ago I discovered the solution to my creative writing issues. I needed to go back to the beginning. I needed to write like I did when I first started at the age of 12. I needed to write in cursive in college ruled spiral notebooks!
To that end, I grabbed my newest spiral notebook, picked up my favorite type of pen and started writing. I haven’t written more than my signature in cursive in at least a decade so it took me a while to remember how some of the letters went. Much to my delight, I eventually remembered them all and by the end of the page, my hand was killing me!
I wrote about what I was doing, ie sitting on the couch, tired of winter, and relearning how to write in cursive. It wasn’t anything deep and certainly not a story, but it was a very freeing experience! When I type on my computer, I’m constantly stopping and rereading what I wrote or self-editing as I go, but I don’t do that when writing in cursive. Whatever comes out of my brain goes onto the paper in ink permanence. There’s no save button to hit, no delete key, no backspace, and no wavy little lines telling me I’ve misspelled something. I just let the words flow onto the page in my nearly illegible left handed cursive and when I’m done, I turn the page and move on.
Eventually I’ll go back and reread what I wrote, but for now I’m just writing to remove all the walls that have built up over the last several years. I’m writing to prove to myself that I CAN write without thinking and that if I just let go of all the restrictions I’ve put on myself over the years, I’ll rediscover my talent as a creative writer. All of my fantasy writing began in spiral notebooks and progressed to typing so now it’s time for me to go back to that basic beginning. As my father used to say, you have to crawl before you can walk. For me, I have to scribble before I can fly.