author, creative writing, writing

Using Freewriting to Beat Writer’s Block

Good morning wonderful writers, I hope you’ve had a great week.

Mine has been exhausting. I started my new job, and it’s extremely full on and quite a large step out of my comfort zone. I am really enjoying it though! While I get used to my new routine (which includes a four hour round trip daily for the commute), I am not getting quite so much writing time. But this is the weekend, and so I’ve been catching up on writing and studying.

Part of my uni course over the last few weeks has introduced me to freewriting, and I can’t tell you how much it has helped me develop ideas and beat writers block. I want to share it with all of you, in the hope it’ll help you as much.

What is freewriting?
Freewriting is a process that involves taking a word or phrase, and using it as a starting point to prompt some writing. The idea is that you start with that word or phrase and then just write the first things that come into your mind. You don’t stop to think, or worry if it makes sense of not. You just write, and let your thoughts jump and jolt all over the place. The end result will be a stream of words, some that make sense as sentences, others that don’t. It doesn’t matter how far-fetched the writing becomes, or how much you drift from the original idea. It’s all about letting your mind run free.

How to do it:
You can use freewriting as a general writing exercise, and find prompts in any random words or phrases. For example; At the theatre, a deck of cards, kitchen, the forest, sunset, family party. Or, if you are struggling with a work in progress, take your prompt from things that relate to your story. It could be a setting, a character or an object. For example, in the park, sister, a broken phone. You’ll notice these are all really simple terms. This is why your imagination will flare, in order to write something. Remember, the key is not to stop and think it through, and not to edit or sensor yourself. Take the word/phrase and just write.

Why it works:

1. It pulls ideas from your subconscious
As mentioned above, the whole point of freewriting is to let your thoughts filter onto the page; uncensored, unedited. Your ideas will jump from thought to thought, and it may be quite erratic, but that’s why it works. It forces your subconscious thoughts to spill out, and you’ll be amazed at what you get down. I have done a fair few freewrites now, and every single time I have written something I would never have thought of had I been actually trying too hard to make sense of something.

2. It encourages you to avoid perfectionism
When you are working on a piece of writing you will, perhaps unintentionally, strive to write good, strong sentences. No matter how many times we’re told that first drafts can be terrible, we will still aim to make it as well written as possible. And that’s fine, of course! However, this can be a real cause of writers block. Do you ever have those moments when the words just won’t come? When they sound so great in your head, but they fall flat once you write them down? Taking some time away to freewrite can help you beat this block. One of the main factors in freewriting is that you don’t edit or pause to think if what you’re writing next sounds good. And this lack of a need for perfectionism will help you get down some real, authentic, fluid writing. You’ll be back to your main W.I.P. in no time!

3. It gets you writing again
Sometimes the only way to beat writer’s block is to keep writing. It doesn’t necessarily have to be writing parts of your W.I.P. either. Practicing writing keeps your creativity flowing, helps you beat writer’s slumps and encourages your imagination. By keeping yourself writing you keep that passion and skill alive, which in turn helps you return to your main project with enthusiasm and inspiration.

Have you ever tried freewriting before? Is it something you may try going forward? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so do comment below or send me a message anytime.

Until then,
Keep writing,

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21 thoughts on “Using Freewriting to Beat Writer’s Block”

  1. This is a fun exercise. It proves how amazing the mind works. It gives it a little shove and another and another. My kids did this when they were little, there’s no reason we can’t do this when we’re older.

    Good stuff!!! Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have never thought to try freewriting, and this sounds really interesting. I think I might keep a notebook handy at all times and start freewriting to see what happens. Thanks for the tip!

    Liked by 1 person

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