Exercise 1.8

First, go to http://weareoca.com/creative_writing/how-many-notebooks-does-it-take-to/  to read more about keeping a writers notebook.

Now decide what kind of notebook works for you and get a supply in (or just make use of your phone or tablet or other device – whatever suits you). Go out for a walk near where you live, or in your lunch break at work. Jot down a few things in your notebook: It doesn’t matter what – descriptions of your surroundings, thoughts about any people you pass, or any other thoughts that pass through your mind.

Get in the habit of having a notebook with you as much as possible and try to use it every day for a week. 

When I set up the pages on my blog for creative writing I set up a page for my notebook. I’ve decided to keep my notebook online. It’s more practice for me as I take my phone with me everywhere. I used to be a paper and pen kind of person, but with my studies over the past couple of years I have embraced technology. There are some things that I write down in a physical notebook, perhaps the occasional idea that I want to build upon before it goes on my blog, but I may post them and password protect them at some point, so that I can keep my writing in one place. What’s more, digitising my notebook means that I can upload photos as I go along, such as my exploration of spring.

qrf

I’ve also decided that it’s probably for the best if I stick to having one post that I add to so that all of my ideas are in the same place.

 

Exercise 1.7

Try doing Morning Pages every day for a week. Consider whether you find this easier than doing freewriting at other times of the day. If you find it helpful, build Morning Pages into your regular routine. There will be more about writing routines in Part Three.

Freewriting has become an important part of my morning routine, and I’m pleased that it has. I have my coffee and talk to my trees first, and then I write. I’ve set a reminder on my phone so that I don’t forget to do it. I haven’t tried it at other times I don’t think. Although a previous brief said to set a timer and work up to 20 minutes, I haven’t been doing so. I’ve gone with the flow and just allowed myself to write. But I think most of the time I’m around the 20 minute mark. I will try doing it with a timer soon.

Winter Is A Bastard – Exercise 1.6

Spring is most definitely in the air despite the periods of relentless rain. Crocus and daffodils are pushing their necks out of the ground, and they are adding glorious pockets of colour to my days. Such joy. My mood is improving slowly but surely, I’m isolating less, and I’m having more clarity of thought. Gratitude is what I’m feeling as I write this short piece of freewriting (I adore freewriting, it’s shown me that I do have lots to write).

But winter is a bastard, an effing c of a nightmare that I often struggle to get through!

This year my mood dropped at the end of December, and my thoughts darkened. I began to obsess about suicide, and I researched methods on the Internet, and purchased some pills which I believed would end my life.

Motivation and pleasure from activities deserted me and I felt hopeless. Situations which involved close contact with others was a struggle and I avoided people. Ultimately I was overwhelmed and tried yet again to take my life. Disappointed that I didn’t succeed, but the disappointment that I tried to end my life pushed me into accepting help. I’m now attending a therapeutic day unit. It’s a short term program for a few weeks, enough to get me through until I am able to keep myself occupied and productive.

My energy always improves in the spring. If only I could hold back the self destruction long enough to get me through to the lighter, brighter and warmer days.

My thoughts are much clearer now, and I am enjoying my studies. I had my coursework for over a month before I could even open the folder. Eventually I realised I had to just begin the first exercise, I couldn’t wait until my motivation returned, I had to simply take action without expectation. I’m so grateful that I did because I find it has brought joy and satisfaction into my daily life.

I’m looking out for signs of spring now. I’m not waiting for motivation I’m acting as if I’m motivated, and I’m finding signs of spring right now. Recovery is action. Hope is important but I can’t hope my way into feeling better, I have to put the effort into hunting for joy and gratitude.

Freewriting Is A Blessing

I’m surprised by freewriting and how it has been such a positive experience. My initial response to reading about the freewriting exercise was dread and anxiety, with thoughts that I would be writing random words without a clue about what to write.

However, this has not been the case. I generally start with a word or two in my mind as a prompt for my writing, and I have found this to be helpful. From this the words have flowed from my pen, and as I produce sentences more thoughts begin to coalesce.

The coursework asked us not to consider structure, but this had also been a natural part of the exercises for me. I’ve managed to write prose, snippets of auto-biography and a nonsense poem. I particularly like the nonsense and the poem that I produced.

This morning I wrote for over 20 minutes, which is quite a long time, especially as I originally thought that 5 minutes would be too long.

I can see how freewriting can help people overcome blocks that can surface with writing. I don’t expect this form of writing to be so natural all of the time, but it has been a positive experience so far.

If I Didn’t Have Paranoia – Exercise 1.6 – Freewriting

If I Didn’t have paranoia… I would aim to live in the female role again, and would save up for laser hair removal on my face. I find it interesting that I hate my legs when in the male role, but in female clothing and tights I find I have lovely legs that are slender and feminine, although my belly is still fat. I’d like to live in the female role, but I’m scared that I would be attacked. It wS hard to revert back to living in the male role, but I’ve become used to it now. I’ve learned to consider myself as being gender fluid, although deep down I consider myself as a trans woman. It would be nice to be Helen again.

If I didn’t have paranoia I would feel safe and secure, not have images of me and my home being attacked and feel safe in my home. I would like to be able to live freely and not live in fear for my life. I’d like to recover from ptsd, but I don’t know how to do so. Life would be more fun, and I wouldn’t have all my little measures to feel in control. Currently I feel the need to avoid the number 6. I have to have my TV volume set on 17 or 22, I finish the day by having either 4 or 8 puffs on my e cig and I have to get my clothes ready for the next day in the evening. I also feel the need to continously pray throughout the day and have my medication boxes with all of the labels facing the same way. It’s ocd, but my ocd doesn’t come out in hand Wasing and tidying and cleaning kind of way. If I don’t do these things then I get anxious and scared that me and my home will be attacked. It’s exhausting and frightening to live like this.

If I didn’t have paranoia I wouldn’t become anxious when I hear the sounds of my neighbours talking, and I wouldn’t thin that they are talking about me. I wouldn’t need to either turn up the TV or wear ear plugs so that I can’t hear them; and I wouldn’t think that when they talk they are talking about me.

My paranoia is self centred and self obsession, but I can’t help it at the moment. Maybe one day I will feel safe and secure but I don’t hold out much hope. My paranoia, when it becomes severe, leads to suicidal ideation , and I make attempts to end my life. I get so scared that I am going to be harmed. I get a strong fear of pain, and I would like to die peacefully. That’s why I overdose rather than jump off a building or poison myself or jump in front of a train.

Notebook Quote

“And it wasn’t just that I’d never let go during sex, it was that I’d never truly let go in any experience I’d ever had.” (p138)

This is why photography is so important to me. I let go as a photographer. I am free to be in the moment, at peace even at peace with my insanity. My camera is my haven.

“The girl who has already got out, leans back into the cab, as if she wants to give me a kiss, but I’m too far from her. ‘Have a nice life. ‘ she tells me. ‘Have a beautiful life.’ I laugh, charmed, and say ‘I’ll try.’ She looks suddenly earnest, totally serious. ‘Please do.’ she tells me.” (p142)

Beaumont, S; 2008; Thirteen; Newcastle Upon Tyne ; Myrmidon

Trafalgar Square – Exercise 1.6

Now try this using a topic of your own choosing (e.g. childhood, ambition, favourite places).

I wrote the following by hand and am now typing it up.

 

Trafalgar Square means so much to me, especially after last summer. I had a relapse with my eating disorder and my mental health in general. I became paranoid and suicidal, and I believed that all of my neighbours were plotting to kill me. I was terrified of being in my home, and whenever I was I would wear ear plugs so that I couldn’t hear their muffled voices. I had to get out as soon as I could in the mornings, and not come back until the evening. I visited many places, a wildlife park near to Canada Water, Woodbery Wetland, a Wetlands near Tottenham Hale, Alexander Palace and many other places beside. However, my favourite place was Trafalgar Square. I would take a book and buy some carbonated fruit water from the tesco metro nearby. Some of the time I would sit and sunbathe while watching people, other times I would sit and read. Trafalgar Square was my refuge. I look forward to the return of the warmth so I can si there again.

 

Mother Nature – Exercise 1.6

1) Sit somewhere that is comfortable for writing and where you won’t be interrupted. Even if your usually a ‘straight on to the computer’ kind of writer, try this exercise by hand first if you can. Make sure you have plenty of paper to write on and a way of telling the time – a clock or watch is best. Don’t use your phone to time yourself or you might be interrupted by texts and calls.

Put your pen to paper, start writing and don’t stop – don’t let your hand stop moving at all – for five minutes. It doesn’t matter what you write. If you can’t think of anything, write ‘I don’t know what to write’ over and over until another thought occurs to you. 

Remember that no one will ever see your freewriting, so you can be completely uninhibited. 

I wrote the following by hand and am now typing it up.

Daylight; Thankyou Mother Nature

I don’t believe there is a god. Evolution has so much going for it, so much evidence, its impossible for me to deny, so I have no concept of God. I’ve tried to force my myself to believe, but to confirm, but the concept makes no sense to be. However, I do pray to mother nature. My day begins with routine, and addressing the issues I may face this day and for the strength to overcome my weaknesses. It’s really hard to write without structure as I go along. I can’t help it this morning, it’s coming to me naturally. I’m really enjoying this creative writing course, and I’m loving that I’m studying again. Creative writing is no longer second best. Thankyou Mother Nature.

 

Rabbit Hide And Seek – Exercise 1.6

2) You might find it easier to begin writing if you have a ‘prompt’ to give you an initial focus, although you must then allow your thoughts to wander as they choose. For example ‘I was running through a dark forest when…’ and just keeping writing. 

I wrote the following by hand and am now typing it up.

 

I was running through a dark forest when

A rabbit did appear

A ball of white cute fluffyness

I’m sure his look was queer

He bounded right up too my feet

And then he looked at me

And beckoned me to follow him

And hid behind a tree

“I can’t play hide and seek with you”

I really don’t have time”

His face became so sorrowfull

I said “oh dear, yes, fine”

So we played a little game or two

The rabbit he did win

I thanked him for the game we played

And his smile became a grin


My mind is wandering today

I know not what to write

I haven’t got my glasses on

Which means I have no sight

I’m trying to find my glasses now

By feeling on the floor

My knees are getting carpet burns

The poor things now feel sore

Notebook Quote

“A lifetime clearly lay between them, and I had a sense that their affection was coloured by a mutual disapproval that was very real, yet to weak to break their bonds.”

Beaumont, S; 2008; Thirteen; Newcastle Upon Tyne; Myrmidon Books LTD