In the writing workshops I lead, students rave about the power of the free writing method. I use free writing for everything I write, including my novel, all my e-books and every blog post you read here.
How can such a simple method revolutionize your writing? In a free write, all you do is put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and write without stop for a set period of time, say 10 minutes.
What comes out is part of the mystery of writing – unpredictable, fresh and timely. Free writing is a way to explore your mind and to see how words coalesce from your brain.
If you haven’t tried free writing, you are making any writing project way more difficult than it needs to be. Students and clients have reported that both personal and professional writing are much more enjoyable using the free write method.
I believe it’s the number one key to writing well, and that taking up the practice will revolutionize your writing. Here’s how.
Free writing will:
1. Clear your mental palette to make room for other writing. Free write for ten minutes to jump start your other writing projects.
2. Coax you past the inner critic. If it’s free, if it’s just thoughts pouring out, you are open to write anything. Something about the timer really helps drive past the fearful voices inside.
3. Unleash the breadth of your thinking. When you free write, unexpected and unusual associations will form. Your writing will gain a depth and breadth that will enhance your writing.
4. Practice practice practice. Like a swimmer stroking through lap after lap, free writing builds your confidence and stamina to write other things.
5. Train you to endure longer stretches in the writing seat. Butt in chair, people!
6. Give yourself a thrill! These days, we need all the fun we can get. The energy and exuberance that is released through free writing is as thrilling and edgy as a scary roller coaster ride. This expands your comfort zone so you are able to tackle more daunting projects. Who knows what’s around the next word curve?
This will be one of the best investments in your writing life. If you are a beginner, a seasoned writer, or somewhere in between, this book has something for you. And if you have already read it, get it out again and read a few short chapters to invigorate your writing.
Free writing as a practice was made popular with Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones (Shambhala). If you have not read this book, go get it now! You can almost always find a copy at your local used bookstore for five bucks.
Try free writing in my Free Write Fling, an online, month-long writing marathon. Sound tough? It’s not – just 15 minutes a day. By the end of the month, you’re gliding through writing projects with this simple method.
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