Free writing is a fast-paced writing exercise. It’ll instantly break you through any mental blocks that might be holding you back:
- overthinking & second-guessing
The only goal of free writing is to hammer words into the page. In this case, the act of writing is more important than the actual words you pour out.
If your notebook’s been gathering dust, free writing is a great way to hit the ground running.
It’s easy. Here’s how to do it.
1. Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes.
A kitchen or cell phone timer is perfect. If you haven’t got either of those on hand, an ordinary clock also works.
Keep your pen or cursor moving steadily across the page until the timer runs out.
Don’t worry about crossing anything out, correcting grammar, checking your spelling, or anything like that. If you’re constantly pouring out a stream of words, you’re doing it right. Just keep writing.
Write about absolutely anything that you can see, hear, feel, or smell from where you sit. Write about anything that’s in your head—no need to censor yourself. If free writing is stressing you out, write about that. Pour out any anxieties that’re troubling you. Scribble down strange images and absolute nonsense.
Remember: the only goal of free writing is to hammer words into the page. No one said those words had to make sense or be of any entertainment value to others. This is strictly for you.
Soon enough, the timer will run out. Stop writing.
Pat yourself on the back. You showed up today.
If you’ve been out of the writing habit for a while, this can be your first step back into the arena. Any small victory against self-doubt and procrastination is worth celebrating.
If you haven’t already, set a timer for five or ten minutes and get started.
When you’re done, decide when your next session will be. Why not tomorrow?
Work it into your lunch hour, your break, or your morning routine. To make sure you don’t forget, set a reminder in your calendar or stick a note to your bathroom mirror.
Free writing is a great warm-up exercise, and it’s the foundation of many other writing prompts–including image-only free writing.
Sleek stopwatch photo courtesy of smaedli