Freewriting is one of the most creative and emancipating writing exercises you can do. Also known as stream-of-consciousness writing, freewriting allows you to let your thoughts and ideas flow onto the page without any inhibitions. The results can be inspiring, enlightening, even thought-provoking.
Freewriting is ideal for daily writing practice. Writing for 20 minutes first thing in the morning is a great way to capture your dreams or jot down your ideas before your head is filled with the day’s activities. A “before bed” session is good for clearing your mind of the day’s clutter and capturing new ideas you had during the day.
With freewriting, you write quickly and let your thoughts flow freely. Anything goes. Even if it doesn’t make sense. The process is simple. Start by setting a limit that will be the minimum amount you’ll write. It can be based on time, word count or pages. Then write whatever comes to mind. It doesn’t matter how crazy it might sound. Keep writing until you reach your limit. Don’t be afraid to exceed your limit if you’re on a roll.
The first few attempts you make at freewriting may result in writer’s block throughout your writing session. When that happens, whatever you do, don’t stop writing. Always keep your pen moving. If your mind is blank, write the word “blank” over and over until your creative juices start flowing again. Just keep writing!
Variations on a Theme
Guided freewriting can be used for creativity and problem-solving. For example:
Focused freewriting is just that. It focuses on a specific idea or concept. If you’re writing a novel and your characters are stuck in a rut, this type of freewriting can help you break through a scene or get your characters moving again. It’s similar to brainstorming but you let your ideas flow instead of thinking about them before committing them to paper.
Topical freewriting is generally used when writing about a particular topic or subject. If, for example, you’re working on an essay, you might choose this type of freewriting about your subject matter. It lets you explore your thoughts and feelings and determine which ideas or aspects of the topic you want to examine further.
Words and imagery is a good choice if you’re writing poetry or if you’re not making much progress in your general freewriting sessions. Pick a word or image. Stay focused on it while you write. If your mind draws a blank, go back to the word and write it repeatedly.
Character freewriting helps you get acquainted with your characters. There are two ways you can do it. You can freewrite about them by writing their name across the top of the page, set your timer and write whatever comes to mind about them. Or you can put yourself in their shoes and write about them in the first person.
Solution freewriting can be used to solve problems in your writing projects. Like character freewriting, begin by writing your problem across the top of the page, turn it into a question and then write. You may write yourself into a solution.
Here are a few freewriting tips to get you started.
Limits: If you have a timer, start by setting it for 20 minutes. That’s a good amount of time for any writing session. You also can fill two to three pages of handwriting. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Some writers find that anything more than a half hour of freewriting becomes jumbled, while others hit their stride within the first 10 minutes.
Tools: Experiment with different writing tools. I recommend writing in longhand for better creativity. When you right with your pen, you write from your heart. Something happens to your brain when you put pen to paper. The pace of writing will slow you down and give your thoughts a chance to come in.
Don’t give up: Most writers find it takes several attempts to get the hang of it.
Relax: Don’t try too hard to choose your topic. It will choose you. Don’t worry about the quality of your writing either. What’s important is to keep writing.
When freewriting, it’s important to remember not to be too hard on yourself. If you don’t like what you wrote or you think you’re writing is awful just ignore it and move on. The only thing that matters now is to get your words down on paper. Once you do that, those words and ideas are out in the open, ready to be used in any way you want. So keep your pen moving and let your ideas flow.
Want the best information, tips, tricks and advice on writing? Click here to join our Facebook Group, The Write Way.