Process–Free Writing–Definition and Rhetorical Necessity

I have wanted to write about this topic for a while–to make it clear to whomever might read this blog and also for my only personal edification. I have wanted to define free writing–not just to explain my horrible grammar and syntax and also my lack of typing skill. But I find it important to note that this blog represents my failures– and as a heuristic for the process of writing that must be crucial–again not as an excuse but also as a rhetorical concern. Perhaps even my aesthetic carried out on a daily basis.

But Thank you, Will, for reminding me of why I have this blog. I told Will that usually the free writing is so far rfom the final product because I revise so often and so rapidly. I have no pretense that my goal is produce the best text and best story. To think of process and to articulate that my writing concerns and my rhetorical concerns are not too different from my students and student writers in general. I still am very much of a student of writing–a student of novel writing and that is a large part of my creative literacy. 

Anyway, here is how Wikipedia defines free writing:

  • Free writing (also stream-of-consciousness writing) is a writing technique in which a person writes continuously for a set period of time without regard to spelling, grammar or topic. It produces raw, often unusable material, but allows a writer to overcome blocks of apathy and self-criticism. It is used mainly by prose writers and writing teachers. This technique is also used by some writers to collect their initial thoughts and ideas on a topic, and is often used as a preliminary to more formal writing. It is not a form of automatic writing. 

Now my free writing might be more focused but I still feel I am finding the book and have to say I ave gotten rid of quite a few lines and passages I find I might not use. But more and more I am finding this weblog or blog or whatever you want to call it as crucial to generating the habit of writing and the generating of choices.


So great to receive some specific editorial comment:

Dear John Paul:

Thank you so much for submitting your work to the Copper Nickel.

The entire fiction staff really admires “Rabbit Story.” However, we are a
little confused about what happens to the young girl who dies in
childbirth, a little confused about the timeline of the story the uncle
tells, and the last paragraph or two seems a little tidy to us. We would
love to accept the story if you would be willing to consider some minor
revisions. If not, we hope you will consider sending us some more work in the near future.


Jennifer S. Davis


Dear John Paul:

I am thrilled to hear that you are willing to consider revisions. I would
like for two of the head fiction editors to provide me comments about
their confusion/concerns, and then I will send you a collated list. It
should take two to three weeks. Will that work for you?

Thank you again!


Fictive Bearings

Taking a five  minute break from grading Lit 110 midterms and Iwant to get down some notes on next few Little Lolo Stories. I think and hope I am close to a resolution but my process is so circular–and the chapters feel good as theycome and as I write them so I am not to worried about completion. I’d like get a full document/outline to edit and revise this summer.

Here are some chapters I need to flush out for the Little Lolo Stories:

  • ch over Jefe’s bills and worry and little black book of debt, mortgage and bills and obsessing over conscientiousness
  • ch over scene in Jorge’s–scene where Jefe defends kids and show he can take them to a restaurant and lighten up–leads to fight scene
  • ch or scene over more of a compromise over new baby on the way
  • ch on Jefita and her lack of driver’s license and also her feeling of being trapped
  • ch onthe house and the feel of the house–more textures of the house
  • last or late ch where the crew of boys/Jefe and Jefita visit Mitedio in jail
  • early ch between Lolo and Mitedio and advice on being a man

city lights bookstore

city lightsA few summers back I found myself in San Francisco after an incredible train ride across the country and found CIty Lights Bookstore the famous meeting place of my favorite Beat writers. I was in San Francisco for two days and went there each of those days to sniff around the basement and the second floor where the readings take place. And I’ll never forget but up on the third floor I found the back window open and a homeless man screaming as some restaurant owner was asking him and then ordering him to leave. The man kept yelling he was a man and that noone should order him around. He sounded crazier and crazier and I loved it–the spirit or the voices of the world came in from the window to my polite quiet self browsing books and the cheesy, touristy posters.

city lights door