Free-writing. What is that? You write freely? It isn’t a technical description, but yes, the meaning is similar. Write whatever comes in your head. Just write. That’s all. But even though it’s simple, it’s powerful.
But what is it useful for?
Have you ever been stuck? I mean, you opened your word processor and freaked out at seeing the blank page? Did you have that feeling of writers’ block? The feeling of not being able to write a single word? If it did happen to you, it’s not a matter of worry. It happens to everyone.
The reason it happens is usually that the brain is focused intently upon what you’re going to write. Writing is a mental process. If you get too focused and tense, wondering how you’re going to commit pen down to paper (virtually), then of course, that feeling will happen.
So yes, it’s no big deal not being able to write. But how do you get rid of that feeling so that you actually get some writing done?
That’s when free-writing comes into the picture. You usually can talk about a lot of different topics with opinions (right or wrong), and the simplest method is to write like you talk. Write about what you like, write about what you know, or simpler – write gibberish. More concisely: anything.
Want examples? That’s what I’m here for. Feeling like a rant about something? Go write it – and don’t worry about structure, because if you have strong emotions to convey your writing then structure simply isn’t necessary, because it’s just there.
Or maybe you want to write something that’s your passion, likes, dislikes etc. That’s cool too. When you write like you talk, the words come a bit easier. Don’t try to write like an author — it won’t work and you’ll get that dreaded feeling again. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, flow, structure or anything else. Write whatever you want.
When you get in the writing flow, it’s easy to go on. It’s launching straight in and beginning that’s the hard part, but free-writing solves it easily. If you still can’t write, have a recorder in front. Imagine you’re talking about something you like very much with a person you find it easy to share things. Just type whatever comes in your head. Ideas spinning around? Type! There’s no subject matter in free writing. It’s about writing anything in the planet to start a writing flow, even gibberish. Well, if that works for you.
What to do after free writing
Once you’ve written something, don’t stop. From there it’s time to write about what you actually intended to write earlier. And now you will find that the writing process has become easier. The words come more freely. You’re not stuck anymore. You actually can write. You’re happy. That’s great! That’s the power of free writing. Once a writing flow has been established, the brain finds it easy to send thoughts, and you simply commit them down to your keyboard or whatever you’re writing with.
What about taking breaks? Breaks are important. When to take breaks is totally up to you. You might want to take a lot of breaks if you are not used to the writing process. Or you might want to take only one or two breaks because it hampers your thinking process. I usually take about three or four breaks when I sit down to write anything, but my breaks are much shorter and I feel re-energized in a shorter time. As I said, it’s up to you.
So that’s free-writing, and it’s a popular method for some, and an awful method for others. For me, it worked great — I use it to begin anything I write (although there are some exceptions). A quick summary of the process: you start your word processor, use free writing to pound out the words, get the flow, switch to what you were going to write, take some breaks, and then write to the finish.
What if I don’t like this free writing method?
That’s okay; in fact, I usually encourage others to find their own writing method because there’s no one size fit all method in creative writing. Well, it’s named creative writing for a reason… anyway if you don’t like free writing that’s fine. You may be more of an outlining kind of writer, or you may have another method. Whatever, be sure to tell it in the comments.
Over to you
What are your experiences with free writing? Have you ever tried it out? Why or why not? Did you find it useful, or worthless? Share your thoughts in the comments.
This article is the first of the Writing Tips: How to Write Better. So make sure you’re subscribed (if not, hop on board), because we’re going to have some fun with this.