Freewriting Exercise: ‘I Remember’ and ‘I Want’

Interesting things emerge from inviting opposites into the same space.

Delicious recipes often involve stirring together very different ingredients.

This is the kind of freewriting exercise that is as much about stirring up potential material as it is about simply getting into a state. Just as a singer needs to warm up his/her voice, a writer benefits from brief freewriting sessions to stir the energetic pot and get them into the state.

The exercise

  • Write without stopping for ten minutes. As you write, go back and forth from phrases that begin with “I remember” to “I want.”

Example

I remember digging a trench in the stony Tuscan soil. The afternoon heat was intense and I sang Leadbelly tunes. Randall advised suggested that I hold the zappa differently so that I wouldn’t hurt my back.
I want a farm of my own. I want stretches of flat land where I can run and run. I want hills with trees of all sorts. I want this land to be my own.
I remember
I remember I remember I remember
I remember living out of a suitcase and traveling for months on end. I remember returning home and seeing my things and being surprised that they were mine. I had not forgotten about my home but it had been so far away for so long it felt like I was returning to the past.
I want I want to feel the way that audiobook sounds when I listen to it, that sense of profound nostalgia and depth. . .

This writing exercise is very much like doing a vocal warm-up where you make different combinations of sounds.

By exploring memories of the past with your immediate sense of what you want to move towards, interesting things can get stirred up.

It gets you into your body and it also gets you into a space of reflection.

It’s a combination of two freewriting exercises: the “I remember” exercise” and the “I want” exercise.

The “I remember” prompt is one that stirs the pot and brings the writer into a place of reflection and memory. I remember what I was wearing when they landed on the moon, I remember the first time I walked down the steps into my grandparent’s cellar and I smelled that delicious note of dill pickles down there.

The “I want” prompt tends to be about gearing in to the things we want to manifest. I want a million dollars, I want world peace, I want a purple hat.

Try it yourself

Enjoy!

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