According to Wikipedia, Free Writing (also called "stream of consciousness writing") is described as a technique in which a person writes for a set amount of time without regard for grammar, punctuation, spelling or topic.
I've done this writing exercise many times, and was first introduced to it in middle school. I remember being utterly enveloped in it and couldn't wait to try it out more. I think it's a fantastic way to not only overcome writer's block but also to gain inspiration. You'll be amazed at what is running through your head when you're not concentrating on your mind and conscience.
The exercise does not discriminate. You can be a brand new writer, a seasoned author, or a first time freelancer. Because you're writing what's in your head, you create the content. It's one of a kind content. No one else has it or has thought of it. Interesting don't you think? I do.
Sure the writing will most likely be a garbled mess, but it's supposed to be. Don't worry about if it makes sense as you write it. The act of putting into perspective comes later, let the words marinate on the page awhile after you've finished writing. Sometimes I tuck my free writing away in a notebook or insert it into my file cabinet and come back to it days, weeks, even months later. I've created wonderful book ideas, characters, and articles from the otherwise indecipherable ink.
I tend to favor unlined journals when I free write, as I enjoy writing every which way on the paper. But a regular notebook will do just fine. There are no rules regarding free writing on your computer, but I am not a fan of performing this writing exercise on my laptop. Longhand has always been a favorite of mine. I enjoy the fluidness of liquefied thoughts and ideas. For me, longhand is an ultimate calming sensation.
Stream-of-conscious writing is great to do anytime, not just when you feel you're ensnared in writer's block. And you don't have to put your writing away, you're more than welcome to dive into deciphering it and putting it into some sort of order as soon as you're finished.
Let myself and my readers know how free writing has worked out for you. Useful? Useless?
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Saturday, February 6, 2010
In my daily internet surfing routine, I often come across a variety of other blogs that stress the importance of writing daily if you want to call yourself a "writer". However, I'm not sure that all of us writers really grasp that point.
Consider daily writing as an emotional catharsis. You have an idea, or something is bothering you, even a small notion of something that interests you is important in your world. I say your because what you may think is important to you may not seem so important to others, but it is important nonetheless, and thus requires writing down. Writing it (whatever it may be) down can help to declutter your mind. It could be something as strong as your feelings while going through a divorce, or perhaps it's something as small as writing out your grocery list.
As I've stated in prior posts on this blog, I carry a notebook with me everywhere I go. Sometimes it's a big three subject notebook, other times it's a pocket-sized Moleskine. Regardless of its size, I always have something to record what's in my head.
This daily writing not only cleanses my thoughts, but it also keeps my muse alive. I'm nourishing her by feeding into my impulses and keeping her hydrated by allowing the ink to flow from my pen. She thanks me by continually giving me ideas to write on.
I feel it's also important to write everything down since distractions are everywhere. One minute I'm thinking I need to visit a particular site to read more on a writer's conference that I know is coming up soon, and the next I'm wondering which right hand turn I'm to take. I've learned, mostly through trial and error, that if I think it...I need to write it...or I'll most certainly forget it.
I encourage you to write daily. Be it a ten page narrative, a short story, a poem, even your "to-do" list...write it down. And when your muse seems hungry for ink, give in - pick a quiet spot and let all your thoughts flow. For all we know, our daily writings could be the next big novel or the next Pulitzer Prize winner.
Good luck writers and please, share your muse stories with us. We learn best when it's from each other.