What is Freewriting and How it Can Help Overcome Writer’s Block

Posted by Pat Delorean

what is ferreting

There’s a number of definitions of freewriting out there. Since they differ only in wording, we’ll go straight to the essence. Freewriting is a technique, when you fix everything that goes through your mind on the paper (or in a document on your computer) without thinking, analyzing or editing. Basically, it’s a documentation of the buzz (or the silence), that’s going on in your head.

The main purpose of the activity is bringing a writer to the state of “flow”, when he/she doesn’t have to worry about correct spelling and the greatness of ideas, presented in a piece. Depending on each individual case, freewriting may help overcome writer’s block, reveal fascinating ideas, hidden in the depths of one’s subconsciousness, or even serve an efficient therapy session.

Freewriting is an empowering method. If your head is brimming with ideas you cannot quite organize – it will help you separate the wheat from the chaffs. In case you feel absolutely numb – freewriting will open up the gates and set a much more productive mood. Either way, it will “unclench” your mind, which is surely a good thing. Especially if you’ve been going through a spell of writer’s block recently.

The Wrong Way to Freewrite

Gotcha! There’s no wrong way to do it. The beauty of the method is that it has no special requirements or conditions (well, except for one: you actually have to write something). You need to let yourself go and write down anything that pops up in your head. There are several ways to make the whole process more efficient, and we’re going to share them with you.

Set a Limit

Even freewriting can be tiring, if done for a long time. To get the most of it, designate a period of time, during which you’re going to do the exercise. You may use a Pomodoro technique or work out the mode that works best for you. The important thing is that you follow the procedure: first, several minutes of intensive writing, then a period of rest, where you stand as far from that notebook or laptop as possible.

Move Fast

You’ve got to write really fast. At times you may catch yourself thinking, that you can’t cope with the tempo. That’s a good thing. You flush away all the blocks that have been keeping you stuck. Don’t worry about handwriting or typos: correct writing is not what you aim for. It has to be free and pure.

Don’t Mind Your Language

Write just the way you think. If you don’t know what to write – write it. Repeat the phrase as many times as needed. If you’re angry about something – give the subject of your hate everything you’ve got. If there’s something you particularly like (anything, actually: from a cupcake to your cat’s soft paws) – say all the sweet things about it. You may write about experiences, that trouble you or… whatever. Remember: don’t think. Just let the words pour.

Change the Angle

Another thing you could try is looking at something you’ve been struggling to write about from a different angle. Basically, you’ll be writing about the same thing. You may paraphrase it or try to re-write it from a different person’s point of view. Having done that, you’ll clarify the whole idea for yourself and may find a new interesting way to develop it.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stuck, out of words and ideas. What matters is having courage to pull yourself together and look for the way out of the situation. Freewriting is a great way to do this. Plus, it may be a lot of fun. Try it – you won’t be disappointed.

image credit: en.wikipedia.org