Monday, February 26, 2007

Overcoming Writer’s Block With Free Writing

Free writing is sitting down and writing freely, as the name implies. You do not think about what you are going to write, you do not think about such things as spelling, neatness, punctuation, and grammar. You simply write for the sake of writing. Write about anything. If you can’t think of anything to write you can type the alphabet over and over, or write about why your computer screen starts out blue, or the neighbor walking his dog, or why you hate/love a certain topic that was just on the news.

If you should discover you have writer’s block so bad, that even your free writing ink well comes up dry, you can try this method of free writing instead. I call it “Word Association Free Writing”. It’s probably the easiest writing you well ever do. Pick a word, any word…a color perhaps? Red. Or how about a number? Thirteen. A person maybe? Your favorite singer/actor. What about a place? Old Orchard Beach Maine. A thing? A house. An animal? A white cat. A plant? A blue rose. The possibilities are endless. Look around the room, what do you see? Pick an object and write about it. Look out the window, write about something you see out there. Pick up a dictionary, open any page, and write the first word you see.

Once you have picked out the word you have chosen to write about…write it in big letters at the top of the page. Look at this word. what does it make you think of? Write it down. Remember that this is free writing. You are not writing an easy, so don’t worry about researching anything, don’t even think about spelling or punctuation. Don’t worry if you change the subject, go off topic and start writing about something else. All you want to do right now is write. Write freely, uninhibited by worries or fears or rules and regulations. Writing only for the pure and simple sake of writing. To fill up as much space on the page or pages as possible.

You may have started out writing about a feather, than somehow found yourself talking about trees, and before you know it, you’ve started lecturing your “invisible readers” about the dangers of cutting down tropical forests. I did just that once. Started out by describing a small white feather I saw laying on the ground. I just described the size and shape and color of it. Then as I kept writing I had begun to question the bird from which the feather fell, speculating on varies breeds. Some how that reminded me of trees, maybe because birds live in tress? I don’t know, but somehow I had moved on to talking about forest trees in general, than pine trees in particular, than trees being cut for lumber, and finally I had moved on to whole forests being cut down, and started lecturing in great detail all the hows and whys it should not be down. I had quite a rant going there. And it had all started as free writing about a little white feather.

You well discover that free writing, helps you to free your mind of worries and fears, such as, “Well I offend my readers?” or “Well critics hate what I am saying?” or “Well the editor reject this one too?”. You’ll discover that because you are free writing, because no one well ever see what it is you have written, that you well loosen up and let your writer’s spirit soar. You well let your writing flow free. You’ll feel like a wild stallion running across the great wild grasses, or the eagle soaring high in the clouds. Who cares if you go off topic! Who cares if you miss spell words! Who cares that you aren’t using proper grammar! Your spirit is free! You are soaring across the page. Your words are flying from your fingertips! Feel the wind as your pens glide across the page. And write, just write. Write, until you can write no more.

When you have finished writing, don’t bother to go back and read it. Just put it away, and go back to the project at hand. You’ll find that you are now able to write your story/report/whatever, with much more freedom. Your story well flow better now that you have cleared your mind of stress and fear. Now, there’s no saying that those stresses and fears won’t creep back in tomorrow, because most likely they well. And if they do, just start another session of free writing to clear you head once again.

But what do you do with all of those free writing sessions? Should I just throw them away? Goodness no! Put them all in a drawer or folder, and someday when you have a spare moment, sit down, pull one out and read it. You’ll be amazed, and maybe even a little shocked. You’ll say something along the lines of: “Did I really write this? This is good!” You may find ideas for new stories, in some cases, you well discover that, you have on your hands a saleble article, that just needs a little polishing up.

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