Last week I wrote about how to be more creative, and what that meant. This week I want to offer a simple way to tap your own font of creativity no matter what your artistic medium or skill level.
Free writing is a method of writing that asks you to open an inky vein. The rules are simple:
- Set a timer for ten minutes.
- Choose a prompt.
- Write without stopping.
- Do not worry about spelling, punctuation or grammar.
- Go for what’s scary or daunting to you.
When you write without stopping, you’re not censoring yourself. You’re allowing your thoughts to flow freely. You allow the inner editor to step aside and do something else while you flow.
Expect your writing to not make sense. Expect to be clueless about where you’re going. Know that your editor will try to convince you that this is a waste of time and it’s better to have him on the scene for every word.
Know that free writing can be the key to being more creative, no matter what your medium.
Cluelessness feeds your creativity
Writing this way will yield surprises. Surprises yield new insights, and insights offer an understanding that you always have the ability to generate new ideas and possibilities.
You may feel uncomfortable not knowing where you’re going or whether the writing will be useful. You may dismiss free writing as a waste of time, believing that every word that comes out needs to be polished, publishable or perfect.
But these ‘time wasters’ offer new ways of thinking, feeling and doing. Without the space created by free writing, you can get stuck in your big, brilliant thinking and lose a sense of creative vibrancy.
Try free writing – even if you’re not a writer – in these situations:
- When you’re flushed with emotion and need to vent
- When you’re facing a problem you can’t seem to solve
- When you want to start creating and need to ‘warm up’
- When you want to feel more connected to yourself.
Use the keyboard or a pen and notebook – whatever allows you to flow more easily. Don’t judge anything you write. Let rip and see how it feels for you!
Try free writing with me
Hundred of people have benefited from the free writing method, popularized by Natalie Goldberg in her book Writing Down the Bones.
Join me and other free writers in July for the Free Write Fling. Get a daily prompt, a private online community and encouragement from me and your fellow writers.
Here’s what some of the Flingers shared about their experience:
“This is so exciting. I can’t believe the power of free writing. Doing it as part of a group increases its effectiveness so much.” Lillian
“From the fling I gained more: confidence, boldness, voice, speed, practice, trust, fun, writer, loose, poems, habit, time, me! I’m bolder, faster and more creative in my writing and other areas too.” Katherine
“I have lots of ideas swirling around in my brain for novels, screenplays, short stories, etc. I decided to work on one of those for the month. In the past, I would spend countless hours trying to come up with the “perfect hook” to start. How freeing it was to just jump in and write a scene based on a few random words.” Erin
“Cynthia, what a wonderful month. I did indeed write every single day. I feel so GREAT! I really accomplished something worthwhile. It cleared my brain to be more creative, inspiring and even humorous in my writing. I definitely recommend it to others.” – MaryKay
“Mission accomplished! I completed writing every day for 31 days!! Following through and not letting my ‘something’s going to interfere, so why bother starting’ gremlin has got me on to other special things I’ve been dreaming about yet have been reluctant to start for that gremlin’s reason.
As a result of the FWF, I don’t criticize myself nearly as much, I believe more strongly in my abilities and I continue to create in many ways: writing, drawing, music, movement and language. Thank you, Cynthia!” – Susan