Writing 101

Stream of consciousness

Ten minutes of free writing.

***

Okay… I’ve done this before. We had a humanities course in the first year of college, and the professor had asked us to do the same thing. I don’t remember what I had written then, but it must have been pretty lame. All such write-ups are lame anyway, I mean, unless you’re a professional writer or something, you’ll end up making no point whatsoever. Maybe that was the focus of such assignments all along: to write without making a point.

I’ve often wondered whether I should stick to reality in such write-ups or whether I should let my imagination off the leash. A freely running imagination can create some fun imagery, you know, but only if it is in the right mood. I mean, you cannot always rely on imagination. Sometimes it creates wonders, sometimes it’ll leave you scratching your head and deeply disturbed.

On the other hand, one cannot expect to jot down one’s “real” thoughts and get away with it. That simply does not work. I can’t remember the last time I straight out said things that were on my mind. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying I lie continuously, it’s just that I have to refine and make everything presentable before putting it out there. That’s what all of us do, I think. Or maybe that’s an incorrect thing to say — after all, I can only speak for myself.

Neither reality nor imagination seem to be ideal. Why not bits of both? But how does one find a balance? It all boils down to being a good writer, and if you are a good writer, it’s unlikely that you’ll be undertaking beginner exercises like these. No… such exercises are created precisely to make a fool of people. That isn’t bad though, it’s actually very productive. There’s no motivation as potent as the realization of how bad you are at something.

Anyway, the timer indicates that 10 minutes are up. Guess that’ll be all for today.

#writing101

Note: Writing 101 is an effort by WordPress editors towards building a blogging habit. It contains prompts for writing inspiration. Each day offers a new prompt and a special twist. Thanks Arpita, for introducing me to it.

5 thoughts on “Stream of consciousness

  1. Your post caught me off guard! I agreed with most of what you say, yet at the same time, I felt a negative vibe emanating from it that made me shriek, “No! That’s really not it!” I am almost ‘too’ honest in many of my writings, so much so that some of my blogger friends can guess when a piece is autobiographical and they only know me online. LOL. I think you’re pretty honest in speaking your mind too if you wrote this piece in 10 minutes. One can ‘edit’ only so much in such a short time! So you might actually be undermining your ability to state your real thoughts. 🙂

    You’re right, a good writer will probably not need to do these silly exercises. Not all of us are good writers, but there is no rule that says we cannot be good if we tried. There is a quote by Ernest Hemingway that I love very much: “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

    If nothing, we can always strive to be good. The point of these exercises is to give us that scope to try our hands at something that even we didn’t think we could do: for some it is writing everyday, for others it is trying a different genre, or playing with word count. On many days during W101, I was surprised by what I churned out. By no means I claim to be a ‘good’ writer, but I did write a few pieces which I may never have written were I not taking this course. I surprised myself! That’s what makes me happy.

    And I do think if you were to continue doing these prompts, you might feel the same! Guess we’ll find out, won’t we? 🙂

    1. Actually, I wasn’t too honest about the things I wrote here, I just wrote whatever came to mind at the moment, even if they weren’t exactly what I believe.

      I can see that I don’t agree with some of the things I have written. I feel that’s a problem with all forms of spontaneous expression. We end up saying what we don’t mean. For example, I wrote the only purpose of such exercises is to make a fool of ourselves and learn from the resulting embarrassment. But that’s not really how I feel about them. I find them rather amusing and a nice challenge to take up.

      I know what you mean about surprising yourself during W101. I participated in a similar writing event called 7 days writing challenge where I wrote types of posts that I wouldn’t have written otherwise. Actually, that is one of the reasons why I took up another prompt-based writing event. 🙂

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