August 2, 2018


Posted in Creativity, First Drafts, flow in writing, freewriting, Ideas, organizing your writing, writing techniques tagged , , , , , , , , at 10:45 am by Rebecca Hein

Wander-writing, unlike freewriting, begins with a topic or idea, but there the structure stops. In wander-writing we start approximately where we do in a first draft, but instead of trying to produce a coherent piece, we let our subject take us wherever it goes.

I also do this frequently with any project I’ve already begun, but feel is going off the rails, even slightly. It’s an easy, relaxing way to explore my ideas and to tackle problems of organization or approach. After enough wander-writing for this purpose, I usually discover that my difficulties have resolved themselves, and I can easily complete whatever I was working on.

The supreme virtue of wander-writing is our liberation from any requirement to impose order on what we’re writing, to improve it, to stay on topic, or to revise. The rule is to let the subject lead us to what we are really thinking, or what we most want to write about it. This sweeps aside mental clutter and also deepens our writing—important benefits of letting our creative selves go.


February 22, 2012

When Your Writing Won’t Behave, Part Two: The Primal Urge

Posted in Flow, flow in writing, organizing your writing tagged , , , , at 6:54 pm by Rebecca Hein

Behind most writing projects, both fiction and nonfiction, lies the primal urge, “I need to tell you this.” It’s irresistible, and probably makes our job easier in the long run because it motivates us. Yet problems of flow and organization arise from multiple urges, like the aftershocks of an earthquake: “I need to tell you this…and this, and this, and this.” Soon your whole narrative is in a tangle, and you can’t see what to leave in and what to take out.

September 15, 2010

Practice and First Drafts

Posted in First Drafts, Practice Writing tagged , , at 9:30 am by Rebecca Hein

Last week I suggested that you increase your practice writing (see previous posts about practice writing) and decrease your “real writing.” How did it go?

I’ve been doing this all year, especially in the past few weeks. Here’s my report: practice writing is restful. I can write about anything or nothing, released from the prison of my own high standards. I can scamper off into unknown territory, for pure fun, with no thought of order, coherence, or quality.

Try it; you won’t be sorry. If your experience is like mine, you’ll find even your first drafts flowing more easily, not just in language, but also in imagery and new ideas.

%d bloggers like this: