Free writing is what you’re already doing. It’s writing without self-editing, without self-judgement. It’s writing along on that cusp of conscious knowledge of what you’re about to say that feels like you’re writing what you mean and also discovering what you mean at the same time. Writing out your thoughts, externalising them, placing them on a page, is a useful thing for everyone. Free writing is oiling up the wheels of your creative mind, getting your body in tune with writing, it doesn’t matter what you write, but sometimes it might be something on your mind you hadn’t quite realised.
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to write anything good. At all. It can be garbage. It’s not about writing sentence after sentence of brilliance. Just writing is the important thing. Brave people stretch their novelistic muscles during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) each November by writing 50,000 words in 30 days, I have done it myself and I know it’s all about QUANTITY not QUALITY. Going back, fishing out the good bits and shaping them up into something decent is all the editing process, which is a different process to the writing process. We’re not editing today! Imagine if you were an artist (you may well be an artist already!) and you were painting a picture and you simultaneously worked on sketches for the final picture whilst painting different layers of detail whilst at the same time trying to find the right frame for the picture. It would be a mess and you wouldn’t enjoy it. Don’t do this with writing. When you’re free writing you are sketching. You are building up your ideas and discovering what you want to make and what you don’t want to make. The detail, the pallet choice, the layers, the finish, the varnish, and the frame, those all come much later.
This is a great exercise to do first if you have a plan to do some writing, or even editing on something else, just to get your brain in the creative mood.
Take a kitchen timer or a timer on your phone and set it for ten minutes. In your usual journal, write continuously until the timer goes off (stamina of wrists and arms permitting, of course). Come back to it later or don’t. There’s no pressure at all. Write exactly what you like, don’t try to write SOMETHING, if you already have an idea for something, write that outside of this timed exercise. If you run out of things to write, write “I have run out of things to write” over and over. It doesn’t matter, fill up the page and don’t stop! This is about just sketching and doodling away with your words and ideas, you’ll be suprised by what things come out. Just make sure you keep writing for that period of time until the alarm goes off.
All Write With Eddus: The Morning Of…
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