Freewriting Techniques

Having trouble getting ideas on paper? Try this technique:

  1. Clear your mind. Relax. Forget all of the rules concerning grammar. This is the most important part of the exersise.
  2. Set a time limit for yourself. If you are a beginning writer try a ten-minute limit. If you are a more experienced writer, try fifteen to twenty minute sessions. There are recommendations for longer sessions: forty-five minutes to an hour, but I have found that any session longer than twenty minutes become ineffective. What usually results are splintered splatters of ideas that are so abstract and far removed from the original focus that the writer cannot use them for the given piece of writing.
  3. After you’ve set a time limit, WRITE. Don’t stop. If you spell words wrong, don’t go back to edit. If the idea fades KEEP WRITING. This is crucial to the exercise. Even if you have nothing on your mind, write “I HAVE NOTHING ON MY MIND, I HAVE NOTHING ON MY MIND, I HAVE NOTHING ON MY MIND.” You can keep writing this over and over because it is okay. What you are doing is freeing your mind, and eventually something will surface even if you have to do multiple sessions of free writing.
  4. When the time limit is finished, STOP. Write nothing else. Then go back to the page. Read it slowly, and underline all of the ideas that surfaced during the session that pertain to the formal writing on which you are working. If the freewriting is too unfocused to use, take a break. Try a second session later, but try to maintain focused on the subject on which you are writing.

Freewriting is important and can be beneficial to all writers, but it is geared specifically to non-linear writers. It allows the mind to vent ideas that wouldn’t ordinarily surface under the conventional, linear framework of writing.

Created by Allen Campbell