October 25, 2018

Privacy: the best reason for undirected writing

Posted in freewriting, journal writing, Practice Writing, wander-writing tagged , , , , , at 2:31 pm by Rebecca Hein

Privacy is one of the most valuable benefits of all types of undirected writing. Too often, when we’re trying to write something we hope or know someone else will read, inhibitions attack.

Whenever we do freewriting, wander-writing, and journal-writing, we bypass this problem, thus liberating ourselves. To get to the core of our most important ideas, there’s probably no better way.

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August 2, 2018

Wander-writing

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.

July 18, 2018

Freewriting

Posted in Flow, flow in writing, freewriting, Momentum in writing tagged , , at 4:30 pm by Rebecca Hein

Freewriting is probably the “purest” form of undirected writing. In freewriting, you have no goal except to write. Whatever comes into your head, you write down. Even if it’s vapid, banal, repetitious, dull, or meaningless, you just keep transcribing your thoughts. This may feel like an empty exercise, but it isn’t.

In freewriting you’re writing continuously, gaining momentum as you go. How often do we get this flow of language during our consciously directed writing, whether it’s a draft of an article, essay, short story, or novel chapter? Not often enough make it a habit.

The regular experience of effortless flow is practically guaranteed to make all your writing easier. Therefore, the more consistently you do your freewriting, the likelier it is that the rest of your work will improve.

July 5, 2018

Why you should do undirected writing

Posted in freewriting, Momentum in writing tagged , , at 5:46 am by Rebecca Hein

The virtue of undirected writing is that it removes pressure. If you have neither plan nor destination, you don’t have a standard either, and this is relaxing.

Our minds behave differently when we’re not focusing on anything in particular. This is probably one of the best ways to induce good ideas: Your unconscious may be stewing over a problem in one of your writing projects, or maybe you just need a new direction in your work. Solutions and insights are much more likely to pop out when you’re not trying to get at them.

The other major advantage to all kinds of undirected writing is that you are writing, no matter what. For writers, it’s as important to write as it is to produce finished work.

Suppose you’re struggling with a chapter of your novel or memoir and it just won’t behave. Aside from the frustration this causes, it often slows your output. Although we don’t have to write publishable material at maximum speed all the time, it’s still good to feel that we’re progressing.

If undirected writing is part of your routine, you’ll always be writing, no matter what’s happening with the rest of your work. This helps keep you in shape, creates momentum, and may even shorten the inevitable slumps and periods of discouragement that plague us all.

June 25, 2013

Why Practice? Part Three

Posted in freewriting, Practice Writing, writing techniques tagged , , , at 1:27 pm by Rebecca Hein

Ease of execution; smooth flow; producing a great first draft—these skills are possible with practice. Not the “practice” of polishing a piece for publication or of working through a series of early drafts, but practice writing.

Put words on paper, or type them. The content is irrelevant because your state of mind is the key. You have to know the intrinsic value of basic writing, without regard to quality, form, or content.

No musician would ever deny the need for practice, and writers shouldn’t either. What seems to be throwaway time—so tempting to skip so we can get on to our real work—is the foundation of our craft.

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