December 7, 2011

Momentum, Part Four: Why Rely on Anything Else?

Posted in Flow, flow in writing, writing techniques tagged , , at 5:29 am by Rebecca Hein

If momentum really does solve most problems of technique, why do we let ourselves get bogged down? Possibly because we don’t trust the simple process of generating flow.

Writers in particular have a hard time accepting the basic condition of freewriting, i.e. that content doesn’t matter. If momentum is your goal, get going and forget about brilliant sentences…or any sentences at all. Sometimes my freewriting is so disjointed that it makes little sense, but it doesn’t need to.

As with cello practice, the more I immerse myself in the feel of what I’m doing, the fewer problems I have. You should try this with freewriting: enjoy your forward motion and wait for the moment when this ease transfers to your more structured work.



  1. Remember how we used to make up stories when we were children? We never made huge outlines, character sketches, or worried if the story made sense. Setting was no problem and neither was theme. We just went for it and let our imaginations take us whereever they wanted to. I had several short story ideas lurking in my mind for years. I sat at my computer this summer and let them flow. Not only did I feel good but I had one published on a web zine. It was about a writer 40 years ago who came up with stories that would make other writers famous in the years to come. Unfortunately, he listened to a patronizing pseudo-friend who told him he was wasting his time. That story would never have been written if I’d worried about all the picky rules some folks have about writing.

    • Rebecca Hein said,

      Sounds wonderful. Definitely a great lesson on ignoring the rules.

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