Clearing the Mind and Starting Fresh…

How I Write 

            I would like to say that I am able to sit down and write freely at any moment, and words just flow seamlessly onto the page, but then I would be dishonest. I have read several articles on how the writing process is a step-by-step procedure, and starting with a rough outline is usually the best way to go. However, I find that my best writing has not followed these guidelines.

Before even beginning to type my ideas out, I need inspiration of some sort. This can be an idea, a question, or an experience that somehow relates to the topic I need to write about. Still, this does not come easily. If I am really struggling to find a vision for my essay, I will (oddly enough) head to the gym.

There is something cleansing about running for me. I feel as though all of the bad happenings and negative feelings of the day are leaving my body, as if I am brushing the emotional weight off of my shoulders and leaving it in the dust. Somehow this routine filters most of the “road blocks” that inhibit my thought process, and allows me to reflect on the core reasons of why I write, and why certain topics are important to me. In the end, this allows me to connect ideas and examples together that fit cohesively in my essay.

I must confess that this regime of going to the gym does not always benefit the creative process. Sometimes I leave the gym just as dismayed as when I entered. Conversely, there have been times when I have been assigned a project which corresponds to an opinion or idea that I had been forming for months. Instantly, I am ready to fill pages with my reflections. For instance, last spring I was given the task of writing a hypothetical open letter to a person of my choice. I made the decision to write to the current dean of my particular department about changes I felt were crucial to the success of my school. These included the management of finances, need for more scholarships for students, and the demand for more faculty members. For the first time in what seemed like forever, I felt like I couldn’t type fast enough to keep up with the ideas that popped into my head. I wrote nearly all six pages of my letter in one sitting.

Moving forward, I hope to learn more techniques to inspire creativity and the flow of ideas in not only my writing, but in the planning stages as well. I feel that I struggle with writer’s block quite a bit, and that perhaps is the weakest part of my writing. I am hopeful that through my time in the writing minor program, this may change.

~Rebekah Ruetz

Leave a Reply