Even if you think you have a clear idea of what you want to write about do you sometimes find it really hard to get going? Well there is a remedy for this condition and it involves scribbling down absolutely anything that comes into your head – it’s called free writing.
Free writing is a great exercise for generating new ideas and coming up with stuff that you might otherwise not have thought of. And, if nothing else, it is better than staring despondently at a blank screen or a blank piece of paper.
Scribble whatever comes into your head
As the name free writing suggests there are no rules about how you write or what you write about. You can forget about grammar, you can forget about punctuation and spelling and you can forget about laying out your ideas coherently – free writing is all about letting random thoughts flow onto the page. You may end up with a stream of unpunctuated and ungrammatical text but at the very least you will have written something.
5 tips on how to do free writing
- Decide how long you want to write for (5 minutes, 10 minutes, one hour?) and then set a timer or alarm.
- Choose whether you want to free write about a specific topic or whether you want to use your free writing session to see if you can come up with some new ideas.
- Find a comfortable spot where you won’t be disturbed.
- If you choose to work at a computer don’t be tempted to edit as you go along – this will bring your free flow of thoughts to an abrupt end. For this reason some people prefer to use pen and paper to avoid being distracted by the warnings of spelling and grammatical errors that you get from most word processors.
- With the timer set, scribble down anything that comes into your head. If you draw a complete blank just scribble some nonsense or repeat what you have just written until something else pops into your head. But whatever you do, keep scribbling and don’t stop to read what you have just written.
When you have finished, look back at what you have written and see if there is anything you could use for a future piece of writing. If there is nothing that stands out or inspires you don’t despair. Free writing is all about getting words down on paper. If you do come up with a good idea or two think of it as a fringe benefit.
Don’t give up
Free writing needs practice so make it something you do regularly – may be once or twice a week. With practice you will get better and you may find that without the constraints of the normal writing rules, you start to be more productive and that you come up with some really good, useable ideas.