Saturday, September 4, 2010

So Am I Crazy?

I'm taking two writing classes this semester. And in writing classes, one is rather frequently expected to do free writes. And I hate free writes.

Does that make me a bad person?

All these things exist to help make you a better writer - free writes, thought maps, character interviews - and I just can't stand any of them. I've always felt like they're gimmicky and forced. Right now, I am desperately trying to outline A Bridge to War, because I seriously need to, and it is so hard. I'm kind of failing at it.

The way I plot things out (from essays to novels) is sort of a weird method of internal half-outlining. I'll know major points and plan those out meticulously in my head, and then I'll start writing, eventually connecting all those major points together (because yes, I am really picky about writing in order).

But because of class I have to free write. And I suspect that some thought map type things are forthcoming. And I dread that.

At the same time, though, I'm trying to keep an open mind about it, because last year I did learn some good things that I wouldn't have been open to previously. Such as how to let things go and rewrite them, for instance.

But at the same time, I am not sure I can get over my hatred of free writes.

I don't know, guys. Is this one of those writerly matters of personal preference? Or should I just stop whinging and learn to like the free write?

How do you guys organize your thoughts when writing? How do you get started? (Don't worry, I won't hate YOU if you free write. :) )


  1. You are totally not crazy. I think it's a personal thing like some people are pantsers and some couldn't imagine writing without a plan. Or how some like to right middle sections and others like to start from the beginning through to the end.

    Beginnings are easy for me to start, but then hard to get away from. I'll start re-writing and re-writing it. Once I manage to break free, I jot down specific things that will happen in the "right" order. Then, I just keep on writing. :D

  2. Agree with MJ. You're normal. Unless we're all crazy too, in which case I would't worry. Free writing is a horrible thing, especially for fans of outlining - I think it's more for people into writing prompts and hardcore creative exercising. It's like the Bodyattack for the writing world!

    I can understand the perks of free writing, but I'm withyou all the way on this one. Meticulous outlining rules. Period.

  3. You are not crazy!

    "free writes, thought maps, character interviews - and I just can't stand any of them"

    Lol. So true!

  4. Personally, I LOVE free writes, because they allow me write naturally and not think about the things that I usually worry about while I'm writing.

    But, you're not crazy at all. I really think things like character maps and outlining (both things I can't stand) are totally up to personal preference.

    Also, I'd hate having to do free writes in class. But I think the reason free writes work so well for me (I think actually better than normal writing) is that it meshes with how I internally like to write. As in, don't-plan-anything, write-out-of-order, write-short-snippets, don't-think is my writing process.

    So that pretty much equals freewrite, haha.