Free writing

Pull out a piece of paper. Start writing without lifting your pen off of the paper. Don’t hesitate and have a constant flow of words fill up each line.

That’s what free writing is. It’s something that is unnatural for most people, and I can’t remember the last time I did that. Most of the time in the writing process, I’ll pause after I write a sentence because I don’t know how to best word the next idea. Or better yet, I don’t even know what the next idea is.

I wish that English teachers allowed some time for free writing. 10 minutes or even 5 is enough. I think it would be beneficial for people who don’t like writing as much (and of course, people who like writing too) because it will force them to write. It stops people from over thinking too much and trying to make every single sentence perfect. Free writing gets rid of the excuses that stop people from writing like not having something to write about or not having the time to write. Free writing reminds me of shitty first drafts because you have to get something, anything, down, but free writing is even more loose and you can jump from idea to idea.

I wonder how many people struggle with this idea of free writing because to me it seems relatively easy. The best part is there is no right or wrong because no one expects it to make sense organizationally or logically. Another great thing is that the only person who sees the writing is you. But you argue “I have writer’s block and I don’t know what to write at all.” I remember a teacher telling us that even if you don’t have anything to say start making a list of things you have to do or things that are on your mind. Eventually more structured sentences will come out, and if not, at least you’ve organized the things that you need to do.

Also, if you’re forced to actually use a pen and paper it might be easier than staring at a computer screen. There isn’t the beautiful luxury of the backspace button and you can see all of the eraser marks or crossed out words. You can feel the ebb and flow of the words coming out of your page, and that feeling itself can help jog thoughts. 10 minutes of random writing can give you a page or more. In that whole page, there might be gibberish, but there is also maybe some golden stuff in there. Since you are forced to write, free writing can be a good source of brainstorming when you have writer’s block.

If your goal is to write more, then take 10 minutes out of your day, sit outside in the sun and start writing about anything. If you don’t have anything to say at first, make a to do list or a bucket list. As in the words of Shelly Manis, my Minor in Writing Gateway instructor, the world is your oyster.

Melody Ng

Melody is currently a senior studying business.

One thought to “Free writing”

  1. I really enjoyed this Melody!

    I think lately I’ve been all for the planned and drafted style of writing that I’ve forgotten about free writing. It’s interesting that you really see the value in it. I don’t know if it’s because of this class, but lately I’ve been stopping myself from writing freely. I try to plan ahead and keep my writing organized. I definitely agree with you that it’s a great exercise for those with writer’s block, but I wonder if there are perks to doing it even when you have don’t have it. Maybe what you mean by writing freely is different from what I’m thinking of. I try not to write freely because for me, writing freely equates to writing mindlessly. But I also see how free writing helps. It can really take you to a place that’s unexplored and unplanned, which could result in a cool new idea. Maybe there’s a time and place for it. A final draft of a school paper might not be the greatest place, but I do think that writing freely out in the sun does wonders for a weary mind.

Leave a Reply