Writing is a skill we were all taught. At the start it involved vocabulary, spelling, grammar, sentence formations, paragraphs, and writing short essays. It is natural to speak, but to write out our stories is another matter. The rules are numerous and complex, and the style books are thick with guidelines.
When I started to write fiction, I was excited to be free from the straight jacket of the marketing reports I’d written for years. Releasing my imagination, I would create beautiful sentences and spin artful stories. However, when I sat down to write, what I had in my mind did not flow through to my fingerprints or pen. The sentences were clunky, the paragraphs random, in my rush to complete a story I wanted to tell.
Since then I’ve taken many writing courses and filled dozens of notebooks. I practiced the craft of writing just like I practice yoga poses. My stories improved. But I could tell something held me back from artistry. I wanted the same ease in my writing as in my yoga poses. I was guarding, but I was ready to let go. Sadly, I didn’t know how.
Then I came upon Free Fall Writing, a style we in Calgary know because of W. O. Mitchell. Every Friday, for several years now, I’ve met with others and we write and let the words flow: no stopping, no crossing out, no judgment. Then, we read our fresh writing, and, treating each piece like a newborn baby, we say what we admire about it. I don’t always like my writing that day, but when I go back later, I always find wonderful sentences and paragraphs and occasionally a story that feels exactly right.