Is Free Writing Your Friend?
It’s happened a few times that I’ve gone to a writing workshop and the instructor encouraged us all to do a quick free write session. Maybe it was 15 minutes, 20, or 30, but it was just enough time to get an idea out of my head and on to paper. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to shape those words into a full essay. Sometimes the work ends up in a drawer. What never happens, though, is that my free write session produces a completed essay.
If I’m being honest, the first draft of most of my short essays – like the kind we post on the grid here – only takes me about 30 minutes to write. I do spend a significant amount of time writing it in my head while I’m driving, showering, or vacuuming. It always feels like I’ve written pure genius, but by the time I go back to it, I realize what I really have is a first draft. Do you know the probability that a first draft will amount to a finished piece of work? Approximately 0.000000000000003%.
With that in mind, I urge you to step away from your work for an hour or two at least. A day or two is better. Really let it settle. When you go back to it, read it honestly and openly. You may not have to do a ton of work on it, but I’m willing to bet you can cut something off that ending, or you repeated a detail (or left one out), or you find you went off on a tangent. There will be something, I promise.
Are free writes good for you? Sure. They can open up many possibilities. Just make sure you work with them, edit them, and mold them into the real deal before you hit publish.
Microprose: It’s Not Just for Fiction
My dear nonfiction friends, listen up. The first week of every month is a Microprose Challenge week. We’ll be releasing the prompt at midnight Eastern on Wednesday. You’ll have 22 hours to write to the prompt using the word count provided. But if you’ve always thought this was a challenge for fiction writers, you’re mistaken! Nonfiction is welcome, too!
Nonfiction Know-How: Persuasive Essay
Creative nonfiction isn’t just your personal mostly-true stories. You can also use your powers to teach and persuade readers. Learn how to share your wisdom and lessons about life in a persuasive essay that’s more fun to read than that Grade 8 essay question answer in August’s Nonfiction Know-How. It’ll go live tomorrow, but in the meantime, check out the Nonfiction Know-How archive.
How to submit and fully participate in the challenge:
Basic YeahWrite guidelines: 1000 word limit; your entry can be dated no earlier than this past Sunday; nonfiction personal essay, creative opinion piece or mostly true story based on actual events.
1. In the sidebar of this week’s post, please grab the code beneath the nonfiction badge and paste it into the HTML view of your entry;
2. Follow the Inlinkz instructions after clicking “add your link” to upload your entry to this week’s challenge grid;
3. Your entry should appear immediately on the grid if you don’t receive an error message;
4. Please make the rounds to read all the entries in this week’s challenge; and
5. Consider turning off moderated comments and CAPTCHA on your own blog.
Submissions for this week’s challenges will close on Wednesday at 10pm ET. Voting will then open immediately thereafter and close on Thursday at 10pm ET. The winners, as always, will be celebrated on Friday.
Thank you for sharing with us your hard work! Good luck in the challenge…
About the author:
Michelle submitted her first entry to YeahWrite in March 2012 and they haven’t been able to get rid of her since. After nearly 20 years in the insurance/employee benefits industry, she decided to give it all up to pursue writing full time. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post and xoJane, as well as several local sites near her northern NJ home. She blogs at Michelle Longo.