I hate in class essays. Doesn’t everyone? You are given a prompt with a pencil and blank piece of paper and you are expected to conjure your best possible writing piece in order to maintain an A in the class. I hate being forced to be creative on the spot. My mind goes blank and I begin to panic and what is supposed to become the best essay ever becomes a jumble of sentences out of order with an amazing introduction and a crappy conclusion because of the time crunch. Instead of being passionate about writing, I begin to feel anxious, pissed off even when I am told to write something.
My new English teacher introduced me to this new “thing” I would call it called zero drafting. What’s beautiful about zero drafting is I get to write WHATEVER I want. Here’s the catch though, I can’t stop writing until the eight minute mark. I found myself writing about the taste of tacos, my favorite sandwich, etc. Something other than literature, which was ultimately refreshing. Writing these zero drafts gave me a sense of familiarity; it reminded me about the descriptive writing prompts in elementary school that would take a month to write a rough draft, then get it revised by your peer & your teacher, and then making a published final. Except I had to write all my thoughts in 8 minutes.
What I also love about zero drafting is that I have a specific notebook I take to class everyday. I am a sucker for reading my old diaries and remembering how I wrote and what was happening, and zero drafting is almost like a chance to keep a diary for me each day, without the ranting and the “this is what happened today” entries. Reading them would give me a familiar tingle of “yes, I remember writing this” and “wow, this was how I saw the world at my age at this time.”
Give it a try! 8 minutes, nonstop writing. And see where your hand takes you.
It was nice coming back.