“Every story choice you make arises out of who you are, at the deepest levels of your soul; every story you tell reveals who you are and the way you conceive the world around you-reveals more about you, in fact, than you know about yourself.” Orson Card Scott
Free writing can be something deeply personal and honest. It can also be a matter of word association, a blend of images and unfiltered ideas from the ocean of our consciousness.
Free writing can be understood as a practice to quieten the inner line editor. In particular it can be a useful activity to explore raw ideas. It is a get-out-of-jail-free card for thoughts seeking expression.
Giving voice to our free writing, by reading aloud to others, allows the writer an opportunity to hear their own thoughts. Being able to share these unpolished seeds builds trust, a sense of safety in being unprotected.
Eggs in the Carton* by Ivy Dawned CC 2.0 Flickr
A spiderweb can be better observed in situ than handed around. Reading a free writing piece aloud is the decision of the writer. Some pieces are too honest to be shared immediately. Some ideas too fragile.
The option not to read should be reserved for these delicate occasions. Sharing, breaking down barriers to trust and braving our own written words are important steps for most writers.
Receiving well-intentioned critique or feedback is not a requirement, and in my opinion is detrimental to the process of sharing a free write piece. A simple nod or a “thank you for sharing” suffices.
Why do so many artists insist on only the finished work being made public and not earlier renderings? Is it to hide the process, obscure the development of the ideas? I submit it is because the piece, until deemed fit for public consumption by the artist, is embryonic and requires careful handling, a shell of privacy, a womb of trust.
Free writing is an egg yoke, full of potential, your close peers the albumen, offering sustenance and cushioning. Break the shell when you are ready for the world.
*Photo Credit: Ivy Dawned licensed under (CC BY-SA 2.0)