I spent a long time freewriting, trying out different pieces of writing to see what resonated with me the most. It was easy to get absorbed into writing one particular thing, and it's given me some strong appreciation for how useful freewriting actually is.
All six pieces that I did were plucked out of dreams (or daydreams) that I've had floating around in my head. At first, I found it difficult to know how to translate them into a freewriting piece, but something clicked when I just kept my brain focused on a single subject.
I think that freewriting has become a good way to develop into other writing styles. I have a very distinct way of writing that doesn't work for all kinds of content or fiction, so accidentally freewriting into unfamiliar niches has given me room to experiment.
It's surprising how much of a difference a single keyword can make. One of my test pieces used nothing more than the word "North", and the written piece that I created was surprisingly in-depth for such a simple starting point.
Working with a notebook was harder than I thought, in a good way. Having to note down so many things on my own terms without necessarily having the full context of my own dreams meant that a lot of them blended together - in a good way.
It's rare that I write something with a prompt already in place, which changed the way I wrote here quite significantly. By working with an established set of notes, I had to carefully weave them into the text itself, even if that meant trying to combine things that needed some creative thinking to include.
I think the interesting factor here is my more mundane dreams. The fact that I often dream of industrial and brutalist locations in grounded settings opens up some interesting creative options, but it also means that a lot of my dreams are very similar. A lot of concrete, dirt, metal and harsh angular spaces means that I can put more emphasis on presenting that architecture to the reader - and combine different dreams into one continuous narrative.
I just wish I had dreams more often. Perhaps my sleep schedule is causing that.
Forcing Myself To Improve
I improve the best when I'm put under pressure, and that's no less true here.
Whether it's my own mistake missing some important information or just being overwhelmed by how much I need to take in, this course is challenging me in ways I didn't expect. It's hard, and it's stressful, and I'm excited to see if I can do my best with the limited time I have available.
Being up against adversity really adds something to learning experiences, and so far, I'm having my writing challenged in a way I didn't expect. I've had success with my writing online, but that's a very different story to writing for a professional college course and degree - some of the conventions and habits that I rely on simply won't work here.
The most important thing is that I keep moving. I just need to get over a few hurdles and things will begin to snowball - hopefully in a direction that will see me improve in the long-term.
This exercise was simple, but in a way that challenged my confidence in my own writing. The dream I used as inspiration for this piece was a recurring one that I've experienced dozens of times before, and that forced me to interpret the conglomerate of memories into a single linear piece.
When I entered this course, I wasn't sure what to expect, and felt woefully unprepared for the tasks ahead of me. However, learning to deal with the stress and nervousness by simply focusing on the tasks made my writing a lot clearer - I was forced to slow myself down to a reasonable pace.
This learning log is a part of that learning process, because I have no idea what to expect. I must admit that I'm very nervous, and that I still feel overwhelmed by everything that this course is presenting me with. I don't even know if I'm sure of the exact formatting and content required for a learning log, despite re-reading the guidelines multiple times.
The best I can do is write my thoughts down whenever I get the chance. While my freelance day job gets in the way sometimes, part of me wonders if the added pressure will help me get my act together.
The OCA learning log for Thomas Sleightholm, written alongside his Creative Writing degree. Logs are often written offline and uploaded in bulk.