Freewriting

     Trying to come up with that perfect first sentence?  Well, stop it!  That’s one of the best ways to give yourself writer’s block. The idea that you need to write an intriguing first sentence or find that perfect word will make you stop and think. And think. And while you’re thinking, you’re not writing. Yes, the writing should be excellent. Eventually. After revision and editing, not in the first stage of writing.  In the beginning, your task is to come up with ideas and get the story written.  Once you get the first draft finished, you can go back and improve your writing. (Hint: it will never be perfect. Just aim for brilliant.)

     What is freewriting? It’s exactly what it says: writing freely, without constraints. How does it help?  It eliminates performance anxiety, allowing creativity to stream forth. There is no need to come up with a great sentence.  In fact, you don’t even need to write in sentences.  You can write in fragments or just random words.  In fact, if you can’t think of the word, you can draw a blank. Literally.  Like this _____.  You don’t need to worry about spelling or grammar.  There are only two rules:

     a) Set an amount of time to write.  Ideally, this should be about 20-30 minutes, but try 5-10 minutes the first time. This is an exercise.  You don’t want to overdo it the first time.

     b) Once you put pen to paper, do not stop moving that pen until the time is up!  No cheating!  This is the key to this method. If you commit to writing for the whole time, the ideas will start coming.  Stopping to think kills the flow!

     What do you write about?  Well, you can start off with a topic, for example, “kittens,” or you can start simply by writing “I don’t know what to write about.”  You can even write “Who do do do do.  La la.”  Make squiggly lines until a thought comes to you—and it will as long as you keep moving your pen.  Don’t force yourself to write something good, interesting, or even coherent.

 

     It sounds crazy but it works.  Give it a try!