Freewriting: What, Why, and How to Free Write Like a Pro!
Have you ever tried something for the first time and then thought, “Why the heck is this just the first time I’m trying this!?” I’ve had that experience twice; once when I had my first piece of good sushi, and the second after my first week of freewriting.
I write for a living, and sometimes, I get stuck. I’m often too worried about meeting deadlines to take a few minutes to just write. Freewriting consistently for fifteen minutes has changed the way I write and helped me become a more productive writer.
But you don’t have to make a living from writing to get the benefits of freewriting. I made a short video and this written tutorial to explain how to incorporate freewriting into your daily routine (or maybe just give it a shot to see how it goes). Here’s the what, why, and how of freewriting like a pro.
What is freewriting?
Also called stream-of-consciousness writing, freewriting is writing non-stop for a set period of time. This could be for five minutes, fifteen minutes, or an hour. It’s up to you to choose a time period that will give yourself a chance to clear your mind and write whatever you think of. After all, it’s practice. Think of freewriting like an exercise. If you want to get in shape, five minutes a day on a treadmill probably won’t do it, but fifteen at a high speed is a little bit more challenging and you’re going to get more out of it.
To see an example of a freewriting session (sorry, it’s not very exciting to watch), view one of my streamed freewriting sessions here on YouTube.
For me, there are four main reasons why I now freewrite on a regular basis:
- Practice: Practice makes perfect, and for writers, freewriting is fantastic practice without the pressure felt when trying to meet deadlines.
- Overcome Writer’s Block: Merriam-Webster defines writer’s block as “a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece.” In other words, it’s all mental, and it happens when someone is working on a specific piece (article, blog, book, etc.). Freewriting helps clear your mind because you’re just writing whatever comes to mind, even if that’s writing about how frustrated you are that you can’t think of what to write about.
- Create a Routine: Like stretching before your workout, freewriting gets your mind and body ready to write. This routine can help your brain know it’s time to write and this process can help it prepare to give you its best.
- Stumble on Something Great: The moment I stop actively trying to solve a problem is usually the moment the answer appears. When you are able to get your mind to relax and clear out the clutter, you can often uncover brilliant thoughts and ideas. I’ve often turned a freewriting session into an article, or several strong articles, but this only happens when I’m not trying to write something worth publishing.
How To Get Started Freewriting
To get started freewriting, take the following steps:
- Choose a period of time (I recommend 15 minutes)
- Set a timer (use your phone or find a timer on YouTube)
- Turn off distractions
- Grab your computer or paper and a pen
- Write until the time expires
I also livestream my sessions on WatchMeWork.com, a productivity and creative streaming platform, and on YouTube, but I don’t recommend streaming if you think having people watch you will impact your freewriting.
If you’re willing to give freewriting a try, commit to at least a week of short freewriting sessions and schedule out a time each day to complete it. I’d love to hear how it goes. Please email me at Michael@TrepRep.com or tweet me @MichaelLuchies and let me know how your experience with freewriting goes!