The Benefits of Freewriting
I haven’t posted much lately because I’ve been heads-down, revising a novel I wrote at the end of last year.
But, as I spend day after day reading and reworking scenes, improving character depth, and fixing plot holes, I’ve noticed something worth sharing:
To get to this point in my revision, I had to get what I wanted to say on the page, even in rough form.
Writing is a blend of personal and professional styles and techniques. But it does you no good to say you are a writer if you don’t actually write anything.
It’s a simple concept, sure. You put words on paper or on the computer screen. But anyone who has stared into the abyss and struggled to formulate even a single thought knows the mind plays tricks on you in the time between creative thinking and formative action.
The trick to breaking this self-induced suffocation?
Sometimes called “free association” or even “brainstorming,” this is simply the act of letting the words fly from your fingertips without questioning what you are saying or if the words you are using are correct.
Freewriting is a skill, believe it or not, especially when you get set in the left-brained approach of most corporate and educational requirements. To do it well requires practice and maybe even an un-training of bad habits (or a reworking of those habits no longer conducive to your aspirations).
So, why do many writers, especially those first starting out, think they can just show up and create a literary masterpiece?
Is it over-confidence? Optimism? The naivety of creative expression?
None of these things are bad, mind you. There’s a certain confidence that goes with being a writer, even if you don’t feel it in your day-to-day life. To sit and share your innermost thoughts — or to create characters and situations that reveal parts of your psyche — takes more nerve than most non-writers realize.
But it all starts with letting yourself be free. Free to dream, free to try, and, most importantly, free to fail.