Free writing is a simple process that is the basis for other
discovery techniques. Basic free writing follows these
- Write nonstop for a set period of time (1020 minutes).
- Do not make corrections as you write.
- Keep writing, even if you have to write something like, "I
don't know what to write."
- Write whatever comes into your mind.
- Do not judge or censor what you are writing.
"Then free writing results in a mess?"
Yes, it certainly can. In fact, if your free writing is neat and coherent, you probably haven't loosened up enough. However, remember that you can't fail in free writing. The point of doing free writing is the process, not the end result. If you follow the guidelines, your free writing is successful.
Free writing has these benefits:
- It makes you more comfortable with the act of writing.
- It helps you bypass the "inner critic" who tells you you can't
- It can be a valve to release inner tensions.
- It can help you discover things to write about.
- It can indirectly improve your formal writing.
- It can be fun.
Some final suggestions for free writing:
- Use the writing tool that is most comfortable for you
pencil, computer, or whatever.
- Don't cross anything out: Write the new idea down; leave the
- Drop all punctuation. That can make your free writing faster
and more fluent.
My approach to free writing derives from Peter Elbow's work, especially Writing with Power, Oxford University Press, 1981, 1998.
Click here to see an example of free writing.
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