Thursday, 6 October 2011

free writes and clusters

I enjoy clusters. I find that clusters triggered by abstract concepts engage me more than ones triggered off by concrete words like physical objects. I seem to get stuck more easily when the trigger word is an object. An abstract concept usually gets my emotions rolling and words flow easily. As with psychology, word association really has no rules, so any word can lead to any other word and the connection isn’t always obvious. It reminds me of Edward Debono’s lateral thinking books.
With freewrites it’s a bit different. So far, I haven’t yet managed to write first thing in the morning. I can’t really function without having a coffee first. I keep a dream diary, but when I write on waking up, I only jot down words that remind me of what the dream was about and I usually write up the dream right after I’ve had coffee.
Somehow my freewrites do not seem that free. I need a trigger. So I guess, I’m writing focused freewrites. If no word comes to mind, I choose a number, go on google news and click on an article, I count the words to the number I chose and that becomes my trigger word. I was surprised that it even works when the trigger is a silly word like a conjunction. My free writes consist mainly of phrases, miniature pictures of thoughts and ideas,  they're mostly disjoined and won't make much sense to anyone else. Am I doing it right?
I prefer typing to writing. It’s faster. Many of my notes are on my laptop. However I keep a notebook on me when I’m out and I jot down things: phrases, descriptions of places and people, impressions, storyline ideas. I do clusters on the notebook too.
Another thing - no one is allowed to browse through my notebook. There’s so much that can be misconstrued or misunderstood and taken totally out of context. What’s in there is only for me, and with good reason, I don’t look good in straight white jackets!


  1. Hey Miri,
    Some nice thoughts on here, especially the number idea for finding a random word to kick off your freewrites!

    I have found out a fair bit about freewriting in the last couple of days. What I thought was right was in fact wrong and what I thought wrong in fact was right.. Typical!

    A freewrite isn't generally meant for public viewing. It's a completely personal random funky bit of speed writing that when read back in it's entirety, makes no sense and has terribly spelling grammar and punctuation! It's purpose is to unlock little nuggets of gold from deep down within; snippets of writing that would normally be edited and filtered by the brain before they ever see the light of day.

    I prefer typing too, and this poor laptop is starting to suffer from the continuous pounding that my fingers are giving to it's poor keyboard! I find the process of letting go to be tricky, yet if I set a time limit and try to not think about what I am writing, then it's possible to produce the 'manure pile' that is a freewrite. From there we have to pull out a dollop, and work it into the page so that a good healthy story can grow from it!

    Just keep in mind that a 'focused freewrite' means that you have a keyword that triggers the write, you don't have to keep to it or it in mind as that then isn't 'free'writing. Also, don't get caught up in writing a mini story, as the brain will try to perpetuate it and suddenly you are thinking about what you are writing, again, not 'free'writing.

    I hope that all of this makes sense! I saw that you read my blog on freewriting, and whilst it's no definitive guide, it does give some information to help get to grips with it. I have also posted a 'proper' freewrite that illustrates how random and inane a freewrite can appear!

    Back to your blog, when you say 'they won't make sense to anyone else' - yes! The random jumps and leaps are good things, so don't try to control them! Great job!!

  2. Thanks Neil, actually your post on freewrites was really helpful. I looked at your example of free write too. My freewrites tend to be much less 'structured', just phrases mostly, so I guess I'm on the right track.
    Thanks again!

  3. Hi Miri,
    Glad to see someone else feels they need to hide the notebooks. I almost frighten myself when I see what comes out of that free range thought process! I thought I might take a tip from a young blogger who just puts a load of words in a hat and pulls one out for inspiration...she uses it for photography but I think it would be just as good for the clusters and freewrites too. For the time being I find my freewrites are not so very free...they remain in local territory for the main part without delving too deeply into psychological concepts which could stress me out...maybe it's because so many of them are finishing up in the group forums so I am exercising control...anyway, keep up the good work. We have a long trek ahead of us!