Anyone who was been in a workshop with me before is most likely used to my conspicuous groaning when it comes to free writing. I am happy to report that it wasn’t insufferable this time. Actually, there are some pieces and ideas that I used or might revisit later.
Peter always uses his rusty faucet analogy and maybe that is why I’ve struggled with the free writing. He wants us to use free writing as a way to flush out the rusty water. But by only writing during aTi, I was having difficulty even turning the knob. I like that aTi offers me the opportunity to focus on writing without life distractions. Then again, perhaps I have compartmentalized my writing, which can also be problematic.
Our second free-write topic on day 1 was to set some writing goals. Some of mine were to keep in mind tips that Peter has previously given us that I have found valuable: to always have a working title, to use subordinating conjunctions, to invite everyone to the party in my first draft, etc. Some people had very specific items on their list, but really aTi is the only time I am writing and I am just grateful to have time to write. I also wanted to not hate everything and to also avoid writing misery. I also said I wanted to push to keep writing even when I think I’m done and to write longer. Last year, I wrote something that I thought was done-ish; I thought I had my “turn” in the poem. During workshop, Peter said “I think the ending is the beginning of the second part.” I was sure my head would explode. I still have no idea where part two of that poem will go. I am not sure I accomplished that last want. Maybe I don’t need to write long poems at all. Perhaps, it’s just not my style. I don’t think there is anything wrong with having a tight, contained trail of images.
I have included focused-free writing as part of my classroom for a few years. I know it has served as some sort of outlet for them to confess their feelings and explore different topics. However, I’m not sure it has contributed to any writing beyond that. I hope this year with a more streamlined schedule that my students will have more opportunities to write and make more use of their free writing.