Writing is weird. It’s not like other art forms. And every writer at some point has found it difficult or uninspiring to write. Over the years, I have tried all sorts of writing strategies, exercises and techniques. Sometimes out of frustration, and sometimes out of a desire to embrace all the weird ways that we… Continue reading Freewriting Exercise: Get Things Moving
Freewriting has been around for some time. Brenda Ueland wrote about it back in 1938 in her book If You Want to Write. Peter Elbow showed how freewriting makes writing accessible to everyone in Writing Without Teachers and other books. Generally speaking, freewriting is simple: You write without stopping. At heart, it is a simple… Continue reading What is Depth Freewriting?
The beliefs underlying writer’s block Writer’s block comes in many forms. The most obvious form is the “total stop” kind of writer’s block where even if you wanted to write something, you just can’t. Writer’s block also takes other, more subtle forms. Sometimes it is merely a palpable constriction in your motivation to write. In… Continue reading Debunking Writer’s Block: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway (Part 1)
For this exercise, the main constraint is the auditory element. Freewrite for ten or twenty minutes (at least), focused only on the sense of sound. As you write, really get into the feeling of the sound. You might listen to music and write the way a song feels. You might say nothing about the music,… Continue reading Freewriting Exercise: Get Sensual With Sound
Writers are fortunate to have all sorts of different descriptive tools to label the things we do and how we use language to give shape to our thoughts and feelings. This article introduces a couple of useful distinctions. They sound more complicated than they really are. They sound complicated because they are Greek. They sound… Continue reading Freewriting Exercise: Write Using Hypotaxis / Parataxis
A poem can take any form. It can rhyme. It can be short or long. Poetry uses language in ways that ordinary purposeful speech never does. One of the fundamentals of poetry (and language in general) is the use of analogy. One thing is like another thing. With skill, analogy can nimbly convey the deepest… Continue reading Freewriting Exercise: Douse Your Inner Critic with the Flow of Poetic Imagery
One way to think about writing: You’re inputting text. From this standpoint, if you want to write faster, you need to type faster. But so much of the actual time it takes to write something doesn’t merely depend on whether you can type fast, but whether you can write seamlessly. Of course this means not… Continue reading How Writers Break Through the Flow State’s Crusty Outer Layer
Freewriters enjoy their writing time more than writers who stop and think. Writing without stopping brings the flow state. Their writing time is dramatically more productive than writers who insist on stopping and waiting until they have their next good idea. This increased effectiveness has another benefit: Because freewriters know how to write without stopping,… Continue reading Freewriters Are More Prolific, But Is Their Writing Any Good?
When you write… Like a toddler in a tantrum making a mess, let it rip. Let the voice be unfettered. Let the page be filled. Go with what comes. Different one moment to the next. For a time, you write the sweetest truths. You write your long-held secrets so encapsulated you had forgotten you even… Continue reading Let the Flow of Freewriting Hold You Beyond All Distractions
I will not Reason & Compare, my business is to Create! William Blake As a writer, it is all to easy to get bogged down by complex ideas, intricately layered plot points. It can feel overwhelming to navigate scene after scene and wonder whether the pacing feels believable or whether anything even makes any sense.… Continue reading To Really Stay In the Flow, Try Paring Down