Free writing is just what it sounds like. It is a writing exercise where you sit down and write. It sounds easy, doesn’t it, and yet so many of us struggle with it. The secret is to have something in mind before you start. Then you can move on to expand on that first thought. Just get the first sentence out and the rest will flow. People who keep diaries or journals know what I’m talking about here. I keep a journal myself. I free write every day. You sit down and write whatever comes to your mind. There are variations to the methods, like sit down and brainstorm ideas before you free write, or sitting with your eyes closed and just write whatever comes to mind.
The trick is just think about the words. Don’t concern yourself with the spelling and punctuation. You can always fix it later. When you free write, just concentrate on the words. That’s why closing your eyes helps. You form the words into sentences. Then you add sentences to sentences to form paragraphs and then you build up your piece paragraph by paragraph. Concentrate on the words, the sentences and paragraphs will follow in their turn. I wrote the preceding paragraph and this paragraph with my eyes closed. Then I edited it to the form you read here. That’s really all there is to free writing. Just sit down and write.
Free writing is a tool to exercise your writing skills. It can also be a great way to generate ideas if you are stuck. You take a basic premise and write that down. Then you let your mind drift over that premise and write whatever comes into your head. You can use a timer if you would like and look at your results at the end of your session. You can just sit down and write until you feel as though you are done. Either way works.
Free writing is also a good way to muscle through writer’s block, which is often caused by a problem you may not realize you’ve developed – namely there’s something wrong with your current project and you need to fix it, but you don’t know how. Free writing can help you solve that.
I use timed free writing. That is, I set a timer and then sit down to write. It’s how I write in my journal. It works well enough for me, but it might not work for you. Some people like a looser style and that works. If it works for you, that’s how you should do it. However, you should never not try another method because it’s not the way you do things. That new method might just work for you than what you are using currently.
However you do it, free writing is a good tool for exercising your writing. It can help you improve your thought process and get your creative juices running and that is all that is important. The method here is irrelevant. The results are the important thing. So just sit down with a blank piece of paper, a pencil or pen, and just write down words. Of course, you can use a blank file in a word processor, but no matter how you do it, just do it.