I can’t remember where I first heard about the process of Free-Writing, but I can tell you the advice continues to come back to me, time and time again. I’ve worked with this technique many times over the years, yet for some reason I always abandon it in the end. Now, I’m wondering why that is.
When I asked myself this, the first thing that came to mind was of the waste of ten minutes of time. That’s ten minutes that could be used on actual writing. This is what I tell myself, and then I laugh as I realize that’s the little voice, not me. For, I know from experience this is not true at all. It is anything but a waste of time.
I’ve completed story scenes, grabbed bits and pieces of dialogue, and even pulled a few blog posts from simple ten minute session. Without Free-Writing, some of my thoughts and ideas may have never seen the light of day, finding their way onto paper.
But, not all sessions produce usable material. That, I believe, is where you find the catch. You have so little time to get your writing done. Can you really afford to waste ten to twenty minutes on nonsense writing? Yes, you can afford it, and it’s not a waste of time.
1. Set a period of time between 10-20 minutes
2. Disconnect from your editor and inner critic
3. Put pen to paper, or fingers to keys
4. Begin - write whatever comes to mind and do not stop until you’ve reached your set time
1. Free up your creative muscles
2. Bypass the ‘inner critic’
3. Discover what lies within your subconscious
4. Give your Muse room to move
5. Get you through a dry spell (writer’s block)
6. Make you more comfortable with the writing process
When to use:
1. You’ve come to a block in your work in progress and can’t figure out where to go. Jot down the last sentence, set your timer, and just write. Within the words created, chances are you will find your next step. If not, take a break, come back and try again later.
2. Your writing has slowed to a snail’s pace, your editor has crept inside your head, and you find yourself stuck on the same sentence for thirty minutes. Try a few free-writing sessions to get rid of the ‘inner critic’ and then get back to work on your current writing task.
3. Free-writing is wonderful for brainstorming. Your next blog post is due tomorrow, and you haven’t even started. You don’t have a clue what to write about. Jump in to free-writing and you are sure to grab some ideas, possibly more than one.
4. You finished up your last project a few weeks ago and it’s time to get back to some writing. But, you hesitate, even sweat at the thought of all the work ahead for a new project. Don’t sit around and stress over the issue. Free-write your way back into action and discover your next gig.
I would love to hear from some of you authors on this topic. Do you free-write? How often? Do you set a purpose at the beginning of your session? Do you use it for warming up before beginning your writing for the day?