My online writing group does a weekly Random Word exercise. An appointed member posts a word each week for a month. We are to look at the word, then freewrite for a full ten minutes without stopping. Write whatever comes from brain to fingers.
It's pretty interesting what evolves from these simple little words. Some are common words while others are a little more exotic.
The other day, the word was swift. I wrote rapidly for the required ten minutes, then read it over to myself. My reaction? Pure drivel! But I sent it off into cyberspace to land in the inboxes of my group members.
Later in the day, two emailed me to tell me how much they liked what I'd written. One said she smiled at much of it and almost cried, as well. Another recommended that I expand the piece into a full essay because the subject was so worthwhile.
My mouth dropped open when I read each of the responses. They amazed me! Drivel--or so I thought. Maybe not. I decided I needed to work on that ten minutes worth and see what I can come up with. So I searched for the email with my Random Word offering. It is nowhere to be found! I looked in my inbox, my deleted file, the writing group website. No luck. Frustrating! But I've written one of the women who suggested I continue to work on this to see if she might be able to locate my drivel--no, my offering.
While waiting to hear from her, I have been thinking about my considering what I wrote as drivel and two others liking it well enough to suggest I expand it into a full essay. It tells me that I shouldn't be quite so quick to judge my work in a negatve manner. I need to give it a chance and to heed the words of others who have read the words I have written.
Maybe the short piece will not work as a full personal essay. But perhaps it might. How will I know unless I give it a try? We writers tend to drag ourselves down sometimes when we should be boosting our own ego a little bit more. Did you ever read over something you've written and smiled, knowing you'd done a good job? Have you finished writing a story, essay or article and felt proud as punch? I hope so because that is what we strive for as writers--finding that golden nugget.
On the other hand, have you ever thought less than pleasant thoughts about something you've written? I have a feeling we have all been there a time or two. I know I've thought This is dreadful! more than once when reading a first draft.
Letting others read our work, whether a finished piece or just a Random Word exercise brings us the knowledge of whether the piece is worth working on or is it something to be set aside? I am a firm believer in belonging to a critique group or a one-on-one writer team. We hope to have thousands of readers for our finished work, so why not start out with those few who know good, bad, or indifferent writing? They can spur us on to success or let us know to move on with something new.
What a writer might consider pure drivel just might be hidden gold.