Lazy Pearl and Free Writing

You may have noticed that Pearl’s posts have been somewhat sporadic since she took over from Millie.

This is because greyhounds are basically lazy. They sometimes have spurts of energy, but they prefer to spend most of their time chilling out. Pearl is often too lazy even to do her job as a Storyhound; it’s been so long since she astral-traveled to Storyland to hunt down ideas for my writing that I’ve had to start thinking up ideas myself!

I’m not as good at astral travel as a dog, so I have to use other methods. I’ve found it useful to do a few pages of free writing first thing in the morning. This is something I used to do naturally, but earlier this year my mind got so cluttered up with RULES that my WIP nearly ground to a halt. Those pesky RULES would keep popping in and interrupting my flow, and I don’t need that while I’m working on a first draft. With free writing, there’s only one rule, and that’s NO rules – it doesn’t have to please anyone, not even me. It doesn’t even have to make sense. So, no pressure.

I started with a suggestion I found in Ray Bradbury’s wonderful book Zen in the Art of Writing. He recommends using free association to make a random list of words, then picking one word from the list and writing whatever comes into your head about that word. By following this method, I’ve managed to churn out a short story most mornings for nearly two months. Some of them are rubbish, but that doesn’t matter. Since I started doing this, the WIP has begun to flow again – not as glitch-free as I’d like, but I’m hoping the situation will  improve as I continue the free writing practice. And one or two of the short stories look quite promising!

Do any of you do free writing? I’d love to hear what methods other writers use to get started.

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13 Responses to Lazy Pearl and Free Writing

  1. Oh that’s really interesting. I will have to try that method. I have not written much lately…my get up and go got up and went! I will let you know the outcome! Love to all

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like a fun exercise Annabelle and it’s so lovely to see Pearl roaching and relaxing 😴💜 I write every day and the best ideas come when we’re out walking. I make a few notes or tap them in my phone and work on the idea back home with a cup of tea 🙂🐾💖🐾 xxx

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  3. That pose looks familiar 🙂 I have a similar photo that my children were horrified that I posted. They said it makes Finbar look like something from outer space. I think you’d probably agree—sighthounds are from outer space…
    I’ll write to any prompt, a picture, a theme, a handful of words. It doesn’t help the WIP get written though 🙂

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    • The laziness of sighthounds makes them great companions for writers. As long as they get their daily walk, they’re happy to sleep on the couch while we get on with our work! 🙂
      I try to keep the free writing to first thing in the morning, then attack the WIP after breakfast.


      • They seem so happy in the snooze position you can forget they’re there, then someone presses the button and they’re like things possessed. Keeps us on our toes.
        I remember breakfast. It was the cup of coffee between herding children to school and clearing up the mess they left behind. Now it’s the cup of coffee between taking Finbar for a trot up the road to pee and empty his bowel and clearing up the mess the cats have generated overnight.

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  4. I can see why you find free writing liberating. We need to write our first drafts without rules and eventually edit them with the rules in mind. This may be why editors can be helpful — they approach the work fully armed with rules. Writers who can set their brains to Rules OFF and Rules ON at will are indeed fortunate.

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