Hey kids, let’s do a freewrite. Now, how many of you are looking at the screen wondering what the hell a freewrite is? Or, do you think you know, but not sure? Either way, it’s easy. It’s just a timed session of writing without stop.
I’ve been a huge fan of freewrites for about 20 years now. Back in the day, I was part of a community called Gather.com. Unfortunately, they shut their doors shortly after they opened (didn’t even tell their writers they were doing so), but I learned how a freewrite could help get some ideas flowing.
When I first learned how to do a freewrite, there were several rules to be followed.
Rule #1–Set a timer for 10-15 minutes. Write continuously for the full allotted time.
Rule #2–Do NOT stop to edit any part of your freewrite until the time is up.
Rule #3–Okay, I’m pretty sure there was a third rule, but I can’t remember what it was. I wasn’t very good at following the rules.
I do my freewrites pretty much like this:
I try to make sure to write for a full 10-15 minutes, but I don’t write continuously. I let the thoughts flow and just pretty much put on the page whatever images and phrases float through my head. Some of my best posts are simply freewrites that only needed a few touch-ups.
I can’t NOT stop and fix a typo if I see it right away. If I know I missed and/or added something, I have to go back and fix it right away. Otherwise, I can’t move on. My brain will freeze up until that little mistake is fixed, then we can move on. It’s just the way I’m wired.
Like I said before, I’m pretty sure there was a third rule, but I can’t remember what it was. I got to the point where a freewrite was my way of letting all my pent-up energies out to wander around. No, that wasn’t always a good thing, but it was better than keeping all this weirdness bottled up. It kept me sane during some of my most insane moments in life.
Oh, I remembered the third rule. LOL
Rule #3–Pick two or three different topics to write about during your freewrite.
Okay, this one isn’t such a bad rule. If it’s easier to get the words out, pick a couple of topics. Politics, finances, why your tree grows sideways in the backyard. Whatever. Just find something and go with it. Talk about Christmas dinner or the neighbor’s cat. Talk about the weather or what she was wearing on the red carpet. And it doesn’t matter what you have to say. These are basically for you and you alone.
Freewriting is more than finding ideas to write about. It’s a way of freeing up your mind so thoughts flow easier. A way to find a ray of light in the midst of chaos.
Now sit back and read what you’ve written. Don’t just look at the words, get a feel for the words. When you’re ready, come up with two or three ideas you can turn into an article or story.
I’ve always been a firm believer in freewriting. I’ve gotten some great article ideas from them, as well as a few fiction ideas. I’ve also found that many times, I actually feel better after a good freewrite. I feel lighter, more mellow. Freer.
I invite you to try and do a freewrite. Follow the rules, don’t follow the rules, whatever. That’s up to you. But remember to dig deep inside yourself and let the words free. Just write whatever comes to mind and don’t hold back. This isn’t for the whole world to see, this is just for you. Pick out a few nuggets of greatness and you’re on your way.
Have fun, kids.
In case you’re wondering, yes. This entire piece was basically one, bit freewrite.