Freewriting is a terrific way to sneak your way into the writing zone and then write your way to an idea. I use freewriting any time I’m stuck. Instead of staring at a blank page (whether paper or a blank page on a computer—all that white!) I grab a pen or wiggle my fingers over my keyboard and dive into a freewriting exercise. Before I know it, ideas are coming fast and furious and require no thinking, just writing.
What is Freewriting?
Freewriting is exactly what it sounds like. Write nonstop (yes—nonstop) for a determined amount of time, anywhere from ten to twenty minutes. Don’t think, just write. You can’t fail or do it wrong. The only goal is to get words on a page. That’s it. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, or how anything sounds. Don’t censor yourself. Don’t judge what you are writing. Just write.
Freewriting will help you bypass that critical voice that tells you that you don’t know what you are doing, you can’t write, you are wasting your time, blah, blah, blah. Sure, that nagging voice will wake up, but by the time it does, you will be into the writing and it won’t be able to catch up fast enough to stop you.
Can’t get yourself started? Some advise to write about not being able to write, so go ahead and try that. But here are some more ideas to start, and I know you must have experienced at least one of them. Start with your real-life experience and let the writing take you where it will. Go ahead and discover something about your writing and yourself.
- Write about going to the grocery store.
- Write from your experience as a shopper.
- The stock person’s experience.
- Write from the cashier’s experience.
- Write about going to the dentist.
- Write about going to an exercise class.
- Going to the post office.
- What are you mailing?
- Where is your letter/package going?
- Who will open it?
- How will they feel when they get it?
- Write about attending a parent/teacher conference from the teacher’s point of view.
- Now the parent.
- Now the child.
- Write about a job fair.
- Be the student.
- Be the recruiter.
- Be the show coordinator.
- How about the old standby: “What I Did On My Summer Vacation.”
- Write about your best vacation.
- Your worst vacation.
- Your dream vacation.
- A place you’d love to go but haven’t yet dared.
- Why not?
- What’s stopping you?
- Write about something you’d like to accomplish.
- Why does it matter to you?
- Write about how you’d feel if you did it.
- How you will feel if you never do it.
- Write about where you live.
- Your town.
- Your state.
- Why do you love where you live?
- What don’t you like about it?
- What would you do to change it?
- How could you begin the change?
Need some more writing prompts to get you started? Why not start with setting?
Kathy Steffen is an award-winning novelist and author of the “Spirit of the River Series:” “First, There is a River,” “Jasper Mountain,” and “Theater of Illusion,” available online and in bookstores everywhere. Additionally, Kathy is also published in short fiction and pens a monthly writing column, “Between the Lines.” She writes from a log home in the woods of southwestern Wisconsin that she shares with her husband and three cats. Find out more at www.kathysteffen.com