Freewriting: What Happened To My Passion?
That just happened to me.
I started looking up Kate Bush songs, then progressed to Peter Gabriel, and that led to the 1986 Amnesty International Concert, "Conspiracy of Hope." I worked for Amnesty at that concert as a volunteer and passed out flyers. I was fourteen-years-old. After my duties were finished, my friends and I crept up to the fourth row and enjoyed face-time with the performances of Peter Gabriel, U2, Sting/The Police, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Lou Reed, Miles Davis, Madonna, Sean Penn and Bob Geldof. Funny thing is, I'd almost completely forgotten about the concert until I saw the related link on YouTube. How could I forget something as important as that? After all, my friends and I started the Amnesty International club at our high school, and if I'm not mistaken, it still remains today.
When I was fourteen, the issues pertaining to human rights were extremely important to me. I wrote poems, stories, performed spoken word about Steven Biko for my speech class, and painted to serve the cause. After years of moving around, I've lost those paintings. But as I viewed the concert on YouTube, I remembered each one of them vividly. I painted abstract figures wrapped in barbwire, trees engulfing buildings, and black lines of imprisoned figures holding flowers between steel bars. Those paintings either went into a dumpster when my father's house sold, or are hanging on a free spirit's wall somewhere. The latter makes me smile.
The thing is, as I got older and "busier" I forgot about my passions as a teen. Is this something that happens to everyone? Do we simply evolve, or in my case, "devolve," and forget about the things that really stirred us in our youth?
I'm happy I checked my insecurities at the gate when I entered my thirties, but what about those things that instilled a sense of passion and place in my teens? What happened to the young activist? Did she meet an early demise by the hand of her family and daily duties? I sincerely hope not.
Yeah, we grow up and have different mindsets. It's for the better, I'm sure. But somehow, we seem to relinquish the fresh perspective that can be such a gripping tool to the writer. Lately, I've been looking back at my writing and wonder if I've de-gressed. I know what the cure is, and I've been ignoring it. It's simple. It's organic. It's non-edited, non-structured, and nonsensical. It's freewriting.
Freewriting allows us to let go.
If you haven't freewritten in a while because of obligations, responsibilities, or the need to make every word count because you're a freelancer, take a moment and rediscover the art of letting your words flow recklessly and carelessly onto paper. Embrace every thought.
This post is a freewrite. I had no idea where it would go. I started with one idea and hoped that I would find a resolve. I think I did, and maybe next time, I will find my passion.
- Start with a blank page and type one topic idea at the top.
- Set a timer for ten minutes. You really don't want to do it for any longer than that because freewriting is a warm up for more focused writing.
- Begin to type anything that comes into your head. Don't stop until the time is up.
- When you are done, see what you've written and pull any ideas or phrases that you can use later.
Think about it: if you have ten minutes to spare, you may be able to get back your passion.