Monday, August 22, 2011

How to Free Write Your Way to Much Fanfare and Applause

“Stop, stop, stop; too much applause!”

“Really, I don’t deserve all this!”

“Oh, wow, you like my writing that much?”

Would you like this person to be you? I can tell you a great way to get started!

The best works of writing all begin with a simple exercise called a free write.

You might be one of those writers who cracks their knuckles, tosses their hair back, and starts writing away, without any preparation at all.

Guess what?

That writer’s is either dang good, dang lucky, or they’re going to fail.

The most likely outcome is the latter.

Why You Should Start with a Free Write

Free writing is simple, only takes a few minutes, and requires little brainpower. Here are some reasons why you should start your writing process with a quick free write:

· Loosen Up: Get your creativity flowing! No one can write when they’re jammed up and busting their brain. Free writing sets your mind loose and lets it wander. When you’re wracking your brain trying to come up with the perfect idea, that can’t happen.

· Get Your Ideas Down: Free writing, no matter what you’re working on, will allow you to get a whole lot of ideas written down in a short amount of time. Get it all down, take a break, then come back and look at it what you’ve written.

· Think Differently: Once you’ve got down the basics, if you force yourself to keep free writing, you might start twisting around your ideas or thinking in an unusual way. Some of your most creative thoughts will come from this.

· Have Some Fun: Everybody needs a break in their day! When you’re tired of structured writing and your brain just can’t think anymore, scribble down random thoughts to give your thinking muscles a rest. You might be surprised at the gold that pops out of your pen.

Free Writing Strategies

Free writing can have some huge benefits for any writer, rookie or old-timer. Here are some ways you can implement this strategy:

· Don’t Stop: Don’t think. Don’t edit. Just write. Write and write and write and see what comes out. Set a timer for one minute or two, and for that time, just write. Even if all you’re getting down is “this sucks, why am I doing this?” keep going. If it doesn’t work, take a breather and come back. Your creative mind will soon kick in.

· Surf the Web: Normally, this would not be the most productive advice. However, that’s not the case right now. There are a surprising amount of resources on the web for writers attempting to free write. There is a site called OneWord that gives you a random word and instructs you to write about it for 30 seconds. This is a great way to practice free writing and kick those creative muscles into gear. Check out the Internet, you might find some interesting things.

· Keep a Writing Journal: This is a great habit for several reasons. Try getting down a 30 second free writing session every night. It can be about the project you’re trying to get done, something you saw on your way home from the grocery store, or a random idea you have. You’ll start ideas flowing, ideas that might become valuable in the future, and you’ll get good practice for free writing when it really counts.

Fanfare and All That Jazz

Once you’ve mastered the skill of free writing and have truly implemented it into your work, you’ll be amazed at the results. You’ll get out your best ideas, you’ll be more organized, and you’ll write with more creativity than ever before. Your audience will appreciate your writing that much more!

Just be sure you bar your door and keep locks on all your windows. You never know what crazy fans will do!


  1. I am going to try this free writing you speak of and let you know how it goes! I like this idea and it's actually the first time I've read about it, so thanks :)

  2. @madebydenise - Thanks so much for your feedback! I would definitely love to hear how free writing goes for you. I'm so glad that this post could be helpful!

  3. Natalie Goldberg does a great job with this technique in her book, "Wild Mind", presenting timed prompts for free writing. If you get a chance, try Lynda Barry's workshop, Writing the Unthinkable, offered at various times and sites all year long. This is really what journalling is all about. Great post. Thanks!

  4. @jan - Great tips, Jan! Thanks for sharing. I will definitely look into that book; it sounds very helpful! It's always nice to have a new writing resource. Looks like I'll have to check out Writing the Unthinkable as well! Thanks for your feedback and helpful tips.

  5. OK, so I tried this yesterday...

    I just wrote like the wind! :)
    No worries of spelling, judgements, or anything.. and I think I'm on to a good idea that came out of it! This is a great exercise. Thanks!

  6. I think this is the 5th time I am commenting on this post! ha ha It wont let me use my wordpress username for some reason.

    Hey this is navyatha from :

    Anyway, I just wanted to say I love this post! You chose a great topic! Most people don't venture into writing for free because they might think they are not getting anything out of it. I was one of those people. Not anymore. After I started my own blog, I realized how much and useful free writing can be.

    When you write with pressure of doing a good job or making the writing pretty, you can be creative, judge your own writing and learn a lot from your own writing. I think it's all about learning process.

    Great post jessica!Oh and did I forget to mention I like your writing!:p

  7. @madebydenise - Perfect! Seems like you've got the hang of things :) The more you work at free writing, the easier it gets, and it sounds like you've got a great start! I'm glad this post could be helpful for you in generating ideas :) There are many different ways to free write, but my preferred method is the same as yours - just write!

    @Navyatha - Oh jeez I'm so sorry you had a hard time commenting! Thanks for sticking with it; your thoughts are much appreciated :) I love your site, so other people reading this should check it out!
    Thanks so much for your feedback! I'm so glad you like this post and that it could be helpful to you. Free writing really is a useful tool, especially when you're under pressure of a deadline and you're trying to come up with ideas quick. I hope this strategy will be useful to you in your blog :) Try out different ways of free writing, and get back to me on how it goes for you!
    I'm very glad you like my writing style :) That's so great to hear! Did I mention that this post started with a free write? :)