A few weeks ago, I started a class at Walden University*** about writing short fictional stories.  I was (and still am) really excited about this class, mostly because I’ve never done any kind of fictional writing before.  One of the first things we learned about is freewriting.

Freewriting is a way to generate new short story ideas, and to go places with your creative writing you wouldn’t go otherwise. At the very least it will get you to set pen to paper.

Now, I used to think freewriting was very difficult.  I’d sit at a page for an hour and I wouldn’t write anything, because nothing came to mind.

Then, I thought to myself, why not write inside my journal?  After all, writing comes from your own experiences.  What better way to capture a chronological thought process of my life than to combine freewriting and my journal together?  I’ve always shyed away from any kind of “other” writing in my journal because, well, I am cheap.  I like to buy these really nice looking journals that cost a lot of money but that I use maybe three times a year, and the OCD in me doesn’t allow myself to write in them messy.

This inkling in my brain that my journal has to be NEAT and it has to be ACCURATE is like peer pressure.  My handwriting has to be nice!  I have to use a fountain pen for all my journal entries!  I must leave enough spaces for the photos that are important to me!  I need to go back two years later and see how wonderful my life was!

Yes, my life IS wonderful, but I won’t realize that from rereading old journal entries and gluing pictures of my family inside the pages.  There isn’t any rule – except the one in my head – that says I have to write neatly, or that I need a fountain pen.  I think some kind of barrier broke in me then, because my first day (yesterday) of freewriting churned out two written pages in my journal.

As for my journal, I broke it out this morning, before my blog post, and wrote a “real” journal entry, complete with a funny picture of my daughter holding the cat.  Because it’s still my journal, too.

So, when you put pen to paper, you might want to ask yourself, what are your barriers to freewriting?

*** I do NOT recommend Walden University to ANYONE with the exception of maybe this course.  I’m not here to bad-mouth anyone or anything, but they really need to get their act together as a college.  It’s almost as if they are too big for their britches, and they don’t know a thing about customer service – or helping their students.