The Power of Free-writing

freewriting2In my Advanced Creative Writing II college course this summer, one of the strangest things happened: I learned something.

Weird, right? I KNOW! Me too!

But I actually had a great time, learned gobs of information, and put a huge fistful of tricks and habits into my writing toolbox. One of those tips is a great way to not only clear your mind and relax your creativity, but also prime your writing fingers for some serious prose pounding. Ooh – That sounded dirtier than it is.

Free-writing can happen at any time, but what I found works best for me is to take 10-15 minutes before I plan on writing for a longer session. This takes all the fuzzy nonsense out of my brain and puts it into a place for later. And best of all – it works wonders like one wouldn’t believe.

The way I use it for my writing is to set a timer: 10 or 15 minutes (I just use my iPhone’s built-in timer) and open a new Pages sheet, and go nuts. The key, or benefit really, is to not go back and correct anything, or even read what you’re writing down. The more information that crawls through the imagination between your ears is thrown onto the screen – usually misspelled and without any form of proper punctuation. The purpose is to literally drop everything that pops into your brain onto the screen (or paper if you want to write longhand,) and to get it out of your head. After the timer goes off, put a date on top and save the document – but ignore it for now.

What I’ve found is usually 50% of these free-writing sessions have some good ideas in there. The rest of it is nonsense not fit for the trash bin. Of course, you could always send it to your favorite political news station. But half of it is crap that wouldn’t keep the attention of a goldfish entertained.

The main point I’ve found is this: After doing the free-writing for 10-15 minutes BEFORE writing each day, I not only have a clearer mind and brighter focus for the topic and purposeful writing at hand, but I also have great ideas saved for future usage. It’s something I’ve done every day since the class, and I’ve been thankful for the trick to increase my own creative concentration threefold.

Hopefully this helps your writing out as well!

-Chris

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One thought on “The Power of Free-writing

  1. Sounds like something I would have dismissed but your blog is well written and has convinced me to give it a shot. I hope I am singing your praises soon for a new habit that has improved my writing.

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