April 11, 2012

Freewriting, Part Five: Don’t Underrate It

Posted in flow in writing, freewriting tagged at 4:16 am by Rebecca Hein

While your freewriting is producing nothing but near-gibberish, causing you to wonder why you’re doing it, consider this: how often do you get perfect flow in a writing session? Perfect flow in freewriting is like a perfect warmup in music.

Before you know it, you’re launched and have been drawn into your sound. Playing a few easy notes or simple pieces, you become absorbed in the sensations of playing, and though these easy notes and pieces will never be heard in performance, they relax you and help you play your best.

Freewriting is the same. Launch it and keep going, forgetting about whether or not it will be readable. Then you’ll find that next time you try to write a story, essay, or poem, it will be much easier.


April 4, 2012

Freewriting, Part Four: Long-Term Benefits

Posted in freewriting tagged at 5:15 pm by Rebecca Hein

Have you been freewriting for years and years? Sometimes writers give up on it because what they freewrite is dull and uninspired. Surely, they conclude, a real writing session would be more productive.

Maybe, maybe not. If we emerge from a real writing session with the first draft or revision of a story, chapter, or essay, this is obviously productive.

But what if we could get that same piece of writing in less than half the time and requiring fewer revisions? This is the long-term effect of freewriting. It makes us so proficient with words that matching those words with ideas becomes as natural as writing whatever comes into our heads.

March 28, 2012

Freewriting, Part Three: Why It’s Valuable

Posted in freewriting, Ideas, Practice Writing, Warm-Up tagged , , , , , at 12:31 pm by Rebecca Hein

Whenever I hear other writers say that freewriting is a waste of time, I always wonder what they expect of it. Useable words? New ideas?

If so, they might be disappointed. Good freewriting is sometimes so loose and disjointed that nobody can make sense of it.

If a good idea hits during freewriting, great. Grab it. If you get the revision of that key scene in your novel, wonderful. But if it’s just random words, don’t be deceived: the process is inherently valuable.

Freewriting teaches ease and flow, and you have to trust that even if your language is empty and chaotic, the experience of pouring out words—any words—is well worthwhile.

March 21, 2012

Freewriting, Part Two: Unrestricted Words

Posted in Flow, flow in writing, freewriting, Practice Writing, Warm-Up, writing techniques tagged , , , , , , , , at 3:06 pm by Rebecca Hein

In journal-writing, where our only goal is to capture our thoughts and feelings, we still expect our observations to make some sense. Therefore, we try to steer our writing in a certain direction.

Freewriting is different. It steers us, and being propelled forward by the raw energy of undirected ideas is a good antidote to the strictures of self-expression, even the mild limits of a journal entry.

March 14, 2012

Freewriting, Part One: How It Differs from Keeping a Journal

Posted in flow in writing, freewriting, writing techniques tagged , , , at 4:14 pm by Rebecca Hein

Some writers equate journal-writing with freewriting on the grounds that journal-writing is private, informal, and unrestricted. Yet there are some important differences.

In a journal, we record our thoughts and feelings, along with events that are important to us. Self-expression is the goal, and by definition, what we write in our journal has to make some sense.

Not so with freewriting. We can wander, experiment, free-associate, and launch into our own stream-of-consciousness. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if it’s nonsense because order and coherence were never our goals.

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