‘Hot Penning’

Image by The Thinking Doll.

I was inspired by an article by Helen Yendall in a writing magazine, to try ‘hot penning’, otherwise known as ‘flow writing’ or ‘free’ writing.

 One of the suggested uses was to overcome writer’s block, but also useful to get ones brain into gear. Dorothea Brande suggests that a writer commences the day with some ‘hot penning’, before doing anything else. Personally, I’m hopeless without two mugs of coffee to get myself into gear, and then I have a family to deal with – need I say more…?

Anyway, I thought I’d give this a go – so I requested that no one speak to me for five minutes ( the suggested time) – which in my household is usually impossible – but they managed it – bless their hearts.

Trying to clear my mind so that I could let a free-flowing stream of consciousness pour onto the page, began by me writing how I couldn’t switch my brain off – a constant list of things to do that comes with having a family. But once I had that down, I allowed the pen to stay connected with the paper, and I wrote single words, phrases and sentences – not worrying about spelling, grammar or punctuation – which let’s face it, we worry about all the time.

By the end of the five minutes, my hand and wrist ached, and I was presented with a page full of incoherent words and phrases. But as I took a breather and looked at the page again, I saw that I had a few sentences which I could use – such as descriptive phrases about emotions and environment. It is suggested that one keeps the page to dip into if requiring inspiration – although I only had two useful ones – which must mean my brain is cluttered with rubbish unless I think before I write or speak – which I should do more of with the latter at times!

By The Thinking Doll.
When I tried it, I wasn’t suffering with a ‘block’, nor did I require inspiration as I’m editing my current WIP and feeling surprisingly okay. Did I find it useful? Not sure I really gained a lot, nor did I find it that enjoyable. Maybe after performing the task several times, I may grow to like it, but for me, I like to think as I write, and I like to focus on the characters and their journey’s. I don’t think I’m that much of a ‘free spirit’ to throw myself into ‘hot penning’ – although my pen did feel surprisingly warm after my session – but my brain was still luke warm.
Give it a go as it may grab you and be a useful tool for the future.
Happy Word Flow One & All.