Sometimes, the most difficult phase in writing is starting. To help overcome this problem, Michelle Wallace—a contributor at Insecure Writer’s Support Group—shares a little bit about the “freewriting” technique.
Read about it to see if it could be a solution to your “writing block.”
What is freewriting? Wikipedia says: “Freewriting is a prewriting technique in which a person writes continuously for set period of time without regard to spelling, grammar, or topic. It produces raw, often unusable material, but helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and self-criticism. It is used mainly by prose writers and writing teachers. Some writers use the technique to collect initial thoughts and ideas on a topic, often as a preliminary to formal writing.”
- Write nonstop for a set period of time (10–20 minutes).
- Do not make corrections as you write.
- Keep writing, even if you have to write something like, “I don’t know what to write.”
- Write whatever comes into your mind.
- Do not judge or censor what you are writing.
- Don’t erase or correct mistakes
- No matter what happens, just keep writing
Free writing has these benefits:
- It makes you more comfortable with the act of writing.
- It helps you bypass the “inner critic” who tells you you can’t write.
- It can be a valve to release inner tensions.
- It can help you discover things to write about.
- It can indirectly improve your formal writing.
- It can be fun.
Quote: “Freewriting is the easiest way to get words on paper and the best all-around practice in writing that I know. To do a freewriting exercise, simply force yourself to write without stopping for ten minutes. Sometimes you will produce good writing, but that’s not the goal. Sometimes you will produce garbage, but that’s not the goal either. You may stay on one topic; you may flip repeatedly from one to another: it doesn’t matter. Sometimes you will produce a good record of your stream of consciousness, but often you can’t keep up. Speed is not the goal, though sometimes the process revs you up. If you can’t think of anything to write, write about how that feels or repeat over and over ‘I have nothing to write’ or ‘Nonsense’ or ‘No.’ If you get stuck in the middle of a sentence or thought, just repeat the last word or phrase till something comes along. The only point is to keep writing. . . .
“The goal of freewriting is in the process, not the product.”
(Peter Elbow, Writing With Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process, 2nd ed. Oxford Univ. Press, 1998)
Want to try some freewriting exercises?
Go to www.oneword.com and try the exercise.
There’s a new prompt every day.
I’ve done it a million times… and it only takes sixty seconds!
Please visit the Insecure Writer’s Support Group website and be sure to follow them!