I’m turning into a freewriting evangelist. I love to spread the word about all the cool things you can do with freewriting.
Many people have some experience with freewriting. The problem is that we learned it in a way that fails to account for how damn versatile it can be. We learned freewriting in school, so it carries that academic stiffness.
It’s part of something called “prewriting.” It’s mandatory and timed. You are required to write without stopping, probably about a topic you don’t give a hoot about.
Learning it this way, we also pick up the erroneous sense that writing can’t feel smooth and enjoyable and that freewriting is a grueling slog through a bunch of mental dreck.
I learned how to do it in school but I didn’t always take advantage of freewriting in my own process.
I only came back to freewriting after talking with other writers about the all-day writing marathons I was doing. Someone recommended that I read Peter Elbow‘s work, and I realized that the awesome technique I was doing was pretty similar to what Peter Elbow just called “freewriting.”
The way he described freewriting was much better than how I had been taught.
His freewriting technique is pretty similar to what I was taught in school, but the logic behind his method was sooo much more enlivening.
The fundamental aspect of freewriting is just to write without stopping.
Over the years, the more I did long writing marathons myself, the more I learned about my own creative process. Based on my experience, I have come up with all sorts of strategies to tweak and fine-tune freewriting so that it is more efficient and more fun.
Freewriting + new strategies = more awesome
No matter what you are working on, you can freewrite it faster than whatever you way you would otherwise work.
Try these different approaches during your next writing session:
Freewriting has given me a huuuuuuuge boost in my own productivity as a writer. It is the single most effective way to write more and write better. The only thing that holds most people back from benefiting from all that freewriting has to offer is that we mistakenly believe it is a one-trick pony that only belongs in the “prewriting” phase. Not true! There are lots of ways of making freewriting work for you. It is basically my primary modality as a writer.