Guest blogger Cindy Bates works as a freelance writer and editor at A-Writer. She has written articles and shared her knowledge and experience in educational sphere.
For every writer, there usually comes a point where you need some mental exercise. You might be stuck on a project. Or you have to fight that giant monster, procrastination. When you find yourself struggling, try a Free-Writing session.
What is Free-Writing?
Free-Writing is an exercise for writers. Through Free-Writing, a writer of any caliber can clear the mind of useless thoughts. Anyone who has ever had to write as an assignment knows that “writers block” can be a massive stumbling point. Free-Writing helps you to get past this hurdle. It will also assist writers who are overly critical of their work. When you doubt your writing abilities Free-Writing can help you to get past the negative feelings and into a productive writing cycle.
It can also be used as a brainstorming or idea-collecting tool. Instead of traditional brainstorming, which requires a list of ideas related to a topic, Free-Writing allows for the flow of perfectly free thought about your topic. It’s perfectly acceptable if you stray from your original topic. In Free-Writing, the end result doesn’t matter; the process of clearing the mind and getting words onto paper is what counts.
What Are the Free-Writing Steps?
Free-Writing can be done using a computer or pen and paper. Both methods are effective. Writing experts give different estimates of the amounts of time you should spend Free-Writing—some say as little as 5 minutes while others insist on as much as 30 minutes. The consensus is around 20 minutes of uninterrupted writing time.
Once you have your pen and paper or keyboard ready and a blank document, all you need to do is set a timer and write. Do not stop writing for the entire allotted time. If you aren’t sure what to write, or lose your train of thought after a few sentences, that’s fine. Don’t go back and edit. Even if what you’re writing is complete trash, that’s okay. You can skip punctuation altogether while Free-Writing. After your time has ended, you may go back through your writing to see if there is anything useful.
But, keep in mind that the end product of this exercise is not important; don’t expect to get useable written work out of Free-Writing.
Who uses Free-Writing?
Often times, Free-Writing is used by teachers as an exercise for their writing students. It’s a great way to get the creative juices flowing. For the rest of us, Free-Writing is just as effective. Whether used to combat writer’s block or criticism, or even as a tool to relieve stress, it works very well.
If your Free-Writing does spur further ideas, consider this an incentive. If you have set yourself up to Free-Write on a regular basis, you can build off of the same topic as in the previous session.
Always remember, the goal of Free-Writing is to get as much onto paper (or screen) as possible during your sessions. You will be amazed how much you can write in a short period of time when you are not worried about grammar, punctuation, or criticism. The process of Free-Writing is freeing—for your mind and your creativity.
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