“It was an ordinary morning until…”
Participants fill in the blank after a prompt, such as the one above, at the weekly “Free Write!” sponsored by the Rehoboth Beach Writer’s Guild and held each Friday at the Super G in Millville, in the upstairs conference room. Participants are welcome to bring their laptops or pen and paper to participate in the exercise.
“There’s always somebody from the Writer’s Guild who leads the free writes,” said Maribeth Fischer, executive director of the guild. Fischer said that, after the prompt, writers of all levels and skill sets get three to five minutes to create something magical – oftentimes, a piece of work that they will take home and finish later.
“It’s a little bit intimating the first time,” admitted Fischer, “but people get really comfortable with it. You are really turning your ‘editor’ off and freeing yourself up.”
She said the prompts are always a surprise, simply meant to get the creative juices flowing. In addition to writing, participants get to know other writers as the groups can vary in size from four to 10 people.
She explained that it can be hard for people to walk in cold and just start writing, but because the Free Writes are in an encouraging environment, and not a critical one, people do generally get the hang of it quickly and enjoy themselves.
“There are no criticisms or comments,” she said, “no judgments. And there’s people of all skill levels — from people who have always wanted to write to published writers.”
Fischer said people will often take with them the beginning of songs or stories from the first paragraph done on the spot.
Tom Hoyer, who leads the Free Write that happens from 6 to 7:30 in the Lewes Library on Wednesday evenings, described his experience and the role camaraderie plays in writer’s relationships.
“I attended my first Free Write in 2006. The format forces you think and write quickly and unlocks thoughts and memories to which you might not otherwise have access,” he said.
“You learn from hearing the others read and gain confidence in your own writing by reading your work. And, of course, you get to know your comrades by the way they think and write. I think in some ways they’re as important to mental health as aerobic exercise is to physical well-being.”
Free Writes are held Mondays from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Rehoboth Beach Library, on Wednesdays, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Lewes Library, on Fridays, from 9 to 11 a.m. in the Super G’s upstairs conference room in Millville, on Saturdays, from 9 to 11 a.m., and on the third Saturday of the month, from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Rehoboth Beach Library, with entry via the back door.
For more information, visit www.rehobothbeachwritersguild.com.