I’m taking a writing class this winter (an on-line writing class for parents! the perfect thing!), and have rediscovered the joys of freewriting. I used to make my composition students freewrite all the time, and I’d use the time to prep class, often finding something new to say myself. But freewriting for my own writing… somehow I never took the time for it before. Lo and behold (several freewrites into this thing), I find the seeds of several new essays.
I’m also, inspired by my classmates, trying to keep better track of what I read about writing. Here’s a quote I pulled from a recent New Yorker profile of Jasper Johns. He’s talking about painting, of course, but it still applies: you can always find reasons not to work, you can sit and plan and think for ages and never set pen to paper (or in Johns’ case, brush to canvas). But see what happens when you turn the internal editor off and just set to work.
Part of working, for me, involves anxiety. A certain amount of anxiety, or hesitation, or boredom. Frequently, I think for a long time before I do something, even though I’ve decided over the years that this is absolutely pointless. Actually, when one works, one comes to a solution much more quickly than when one sits and thinks.
So now I’m off to work.