So, Writing 101 is here. The first task is to do twenty minutes of free writing. That is, to write for twenty minutes without first planning or thinking of what to write about. This is a particularly difficult task for me as I always find myself going back and forward as I write, never focusing on one point or one moment but moving through the words freely. To take twenty minutes and just put down whatever comes to mind is a real challenge.
In fact, I have attempted this several times now. This morning, I spent about a half an hour simply trying to get the hang of it, because it seems pointless to write about something without first thinking about it. I still feel that way, if I’m honest, but I’m not going to ignore any of the tasks just because I don’t like them. After that half an hour, I was (thankfully) dragged away from the laptop screen by my boyfriend, although I was very unhappy that I had not produced anything. Every time that I had started to write, I had stopped after a few sentences with the realisation that I had nothing to write about.
Nothing to write about, because I had not planned anything to write.
That was about ten hours ago now and, surprisingly, this task has not played on my mind too much. Normally I find myself planning for a long time, slowly moulding assignments in my head until I produce something both cohesive and satisfying. That is, after all, how I feel writing should work. When I write something I am happy with, it rarely happens instantaneously.
It is hardly going to change how I write, either. Seven minutes in and at this point I am drastically running out of things to write about. The concept of regularly doing this without any real planning beforehand is daft. I feel as though writing should always have a point to it – a message or a meaning behind it. Perhaps that is an important point, actually: perhaps everything I am saying about free writing is a good way to describe my life at the moment.
Ever since I finished university, I have been doing everything and nothing. Yes, I spent ten months teaching English in Vietnam and that is hardly nothing, but from the way that I reacted to it both mentally and physically I feel as though I did not really experience it like someone should. I went to a few of the local tourist places. I left Ho Chi Minh City a total of twice in those ten months. That is not the description of someone who has grabbed their adventure by the reigns and taken full control of it – but that is who I am. I enjoyed it because it was the same, not because there was anything different about it. Once I got used to the life out there, I lived it because it was normal.
Now that I am back home in the UK, I am working at my old job. It is the job I had before I went to Vietnam, and although I was looking for jobs between November and January I have stopped applying. I have no interest in applying for jobs and cannot find the time to look, let alone to provide my details to any employers. This is not to suggest that I do not have the time, but merely that there is no longer anything within me that is keen enough to look. It should be something that I am doing every day – I do want a graduate job, after all – but I feel completely drained. I cannot bring myself to do it at the moment.
I should hear back from my last interview in a while soon. This week, in fact. I hope that it will be good news, but the longer that I wait, the less confident I become. Do I really have what it takes to get a good, well paying job that will allow me to be independent, to continue to write, and that will also challenge me all at the same time? Do I actually deserve one? Sometimes, I can see myself staying in the same housekeeping job I have now for years and years, and despite how depressing it sounds even that cannot motivate me.
So yes, I am like free writing. There is no planning ahead in my life. As much as I want to produce something wonderful, fluid and interesting, I must go with where the world takes me rather than forging ahead with a preconceived idea. There is no meaning to anything that I do, because I let things pass me by at the time and do not go the extra mile to create something for myself. I stop when I do not know where to go next.
I never know where to go next, because I am free to do so many things that I do not know which one to choose.
Yes, it is fair to say that I have not enjoyed free writing. I like order, structure and basic ideas with which to begin. Yet in my life and in this post, I have none of those. At the moment, I can write anything; at the moment, I can be anything I want, if I only put my mind to it. The problem is that I just sit here and wait for the prompts to come to me.