Become a Better Writer By Free Writing

Free writing is one of the most effective writing techniques I’ve come across, and it’s a technique that anyone can use to become a better writer.

What is Free Writing

Free writing is the rapid and non-judgemental capturing of ideas as they occur.

Writers use this technique use to express themselves, to better understand the world around them, and to think things through on the blank page.

In his excellent book, Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best, Ideas, Insight and Content Mark Levy best explains what free writing is:

Free writing is a fast method of thinking onto paper that enables you to reach a level of thinking that’s often difficult to attain during the course of a normal business day.

Why Free Write?

Even if you’re not a business person, you can still use free writing to generate ideas, to practice writing, and to improve your craft.

This writing technique can help you if you’re struggling with writer’s block, if you want push through a boundary in your writing, or if you want to explore creative ideas at the back of your mind.

If you haven’t written that much, free writing can help you get into the habit of writing, and it will provide you with a fresh perspective on your ideas and what you want to say.

For the more experienced, free writing is a fun writing practice to try if you’re bored with your current writing project or if you just want to push yourself a little harder.

How to Free Write

Free writing is easy. All you have to do is pick a topic and write about it continuously for a predetermined period.

Free writing works best if you’re working against a limit. To do this, I set an alarm on my computer for 25–30 minutes, and I disconnect from the internet. Then, I do nothing else but write until the alarm sounds.

While free writing, you should record everything that comes to mind during this period. This could include:

  • The sound of a dog barking
  • A desire to get something to eat or drink
  • The creaking pipes in your house
  • A conversation you had with a colleague recently
  • A line of thought you want to explore
  • An argument you had with someone
  • A conversation you want to have with a friend

When you free write, don’t worry about:

  • Bad grammar or spelling
  • Editing yourself
  • Structure or form
  • Expressing your ideas logically
  • Rules you normally follow
  • Fact checking or research
  • Self-censorship

What To Do When You’re Finished Free Writing

Don’t worry if you write nothing but garbage. Your job here isn’t to produce a page of immaculate prose that your editor or your readers will love (you don’t have to show anyone what you’ve written).

Instead, this technique should encourage your mind to go in new and exciting directions.

You’ll know you’re succeeding with this technique when you find yourself writing about things that have nothing to do with your original topic.

When you’re finished, you can always go back and extract what’s useful and turn it into something more readable.

(Tip: You can make free writing easier by keeping a master list of topics for your free writing sessions; I save mine in Evernote)

If you’d like to learn more about free writing, please visit my post on the Positive Writer today.

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14 thoughts on “Become a Better Writer By Free Writing”

  1. Hello Bryan, Free time is so precious, so when I have an extra chunk of time it is often a choice between writing or self-care. Going on a walk while listening to a podcast is at the top of my list. READ! The best thing to do when not writing is to read!
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    Fantastic Bryan! Having engaged into a kind of writing since my early days, now I began to understand what ‘Free writing’ is all about! Thanks very much for proving an insight and understanding. I closely follow your tips of gold to be thinking onto paper and serenading ideas into words, phrases and paragraphs of valued ‘value-judgements’ to inspire and be inspired.

    All the best buddy!

  3. rating

    I need an exciting direction as I am running out if things to write. I need my muse back, I might purchase your book after all. I have this problem of taking a break from writing as every time I get distracted, I just stop. My creative juice just suddenly run out and I have to start from somewhere again.

  4. Vrisha Malan

    I’ve found the persistence of blogging is equivalent to the quality of blogs. I guess people think too much about what to write. Simple 5-minute discussions can be transformed into a blog post. A regular everyday task at your home can be turned into a 5-step “how to” post. Possibilities are unlimited. Creative thinking and converting it into words is essential. For a better writer, even the most ordinary things can be turned into interesting pieces of art.

    I am a not a native English person and not enough good with the English language. But I continued to practice on writing and still writing. I concern writing using the tools (like Grammarly) which are encouraging me a lot in writing better. And I must say “practicing” creates the change. Keep practicing, and you’ll get where you desire to be. The more you do, the better you become. Practice makes perfect; same thing suits for any blogger I believe. Just make sure you’re following a discipline every day & stay consistent. Consistency in your everyday work undoubtedly improves your job.

    I learned here and got important tips. After viewing your write-up, I expect that in coming days, I write some amazing, different or good stuff for my audience. I would so like to know of some useful resources which you can suggest to make my writing skills better. Thanks for sharing an excellent information with us. Incredibly precise and insightful. I am happy I noticed this post. This will add value to my effort to improve my writing skills.

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