Friday, December 19, 2008

Streams of Consciousness - Essay Writing Part 2

Okay you’ve picked a topic for your story but then you look at the blank page or computer screen and freeze. That first sentence can be daunting. Don’t be intimidated.

Let’s say your subject is a vacation gone wrong, the plane was delayed, your luggage was lost, and the hotel was by far the worst dump you ever stayed in. All these things are going through your mind in no particular order. Where to start?

Just put one word on the paper – I, we or they - and go from there. Just start writing. It maybe chaotic or fragmented. Your thoughts and memories don’t always flow in a linear fashion. Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation or time line. Just get everything on the page. This is sometimes called stream of consciousness – a continuous flow of thoughts, feelings and memories.

Maybe your first memory is how the airline found your bags after you got home – write it down. Then you think of a funny incident at the hotel - write it down. The more you write the more you’ll remember. Give it a rest for a day. When you go back to it things will come into focus.

That Eureka moment will happen and you’ll suddenly see that your fourth paragraph will make a great lead-in. Pretty soon you’ll be moving whole segments of your narrative and your beginning, middle and end will become apparent. It’s a satisfying moment.