F – Freewriting

9

April 6, 2013 by KWills

As soon as I start to type, I start to second-guess myself.  I go back and correct mistakes, then I sit, frozen, unable to think of what to write.  I tried using a voice-recorder to get around the problem, but as soon as I hit that little “Rec” button, I had the same problem.  Only worse because I couldn’t go back and fix the mistakes!  When working on a novel I usually have an outline, so I don’t go all “deer in the headlights” too often.  However, when attempting to brainstorm a task, I am hopeless.

To develop this skill, I tried signing up to 750words.com.  I had some success, but I soon found myself so focused on meeting the word-count goal that I was freezing up again.  I started to treat it as time to work on my novel, and although that was good, it didn’t do anything for my freezing-up problem.

Then I found out about freewriting.  Instead of aiming for a word count, I set a timer and forced myself to type steadily for five minutes.  No pauses, no back-tracking.  At the end of the time, go back and see if there’s anything worth developing further.  Copy those words to a saved document, then delete the original.  It was surprisingly effective.

I haven’t mastered a daily routine yet, but I try to include a few freewriting sessions every week, especially when I hit a block in my novel.  Even if I just type “I don’t know what to say” over and over, I am still typing.  I find “Write or Die” to be a good tool here, with the focus on non-stop typing.  Often there will be whole sessions with nothing worth saving, but at other times I will find a half-dozen nuggets in a single passage.

Have you tried freewriting?  Does it work for you?  What other ways have you found for getting past writing road-blocks?

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9 thoughts on “F – Freewriting

  1. I work from a master file for my other blog. I have a list of all the sayings and expressions I want to write about, I organise it into small chunks and pick out a section to work up into a post.
    For the A to Z challenge, I tend to write on paper for the best results, but I have tried working from a file with lots of words in it and rearranging them into a post. But, like you, that method tends to make me concentrate of the word count rather than the content.
    My link is not reliable, but if you scroll down it may lead you to my posts.
    Sue’s Trifles

  2. Gloria Weber says:

    After I quit smoking, my A.D.D. was horrible! In order to improve and regain my concentration, I apparently did freewriting without realizing it. I set a timer and slowly built up from five minutes to fifteen and then I stopped caring about time and started focusing on word counts. On super bad A.D.D. days I whip out the timer to help me out.

  3. Great advise and sites- will check them out. I too find it hard and i think if you set a time limit and not word limit it makes it easier, Found via A-Z hop

  4. Jessica says:

    I LOVE Write or Die. It’s basically the only reason I make it through NaNoWriMo each year. I try to free write but I’ve found I can only really do it when surrounded by other writers, like at write-ins.

  5. Ashley says:

    Great tips. I’ve tried freewriting and often find my mind wandering. I must have ADD or something, because…ooh! Shiny stuff!

    So, about those bananas…

    Hehehe, great post. Thanks so much!

  6. I didn’t realise when I entered the challenge that there would be so many professional writers and authors, glad it was last minute, or I’d have bottled it. Now I’m so glad I’m doing it, I’m really learning on this and other blogs and it’s inspiring me to make more of an effort, so thank you.

  7. Nanowrimo really gave me the kick start I needed to write unedited – which is I guess what free writing is, I like the idea of setting a time limit – I have been trying to start an ‘I’ post draft all day (in my head) I’m going to give free writing for five minutes a go – thanks

  8. I am on the same boat as you. Can’t focus on the numbers, can’t focus on the outline, can’t focus on not having an outline. I’ve haven’t tried what you have suggested, but I might just try it. I’m at a stuck point right now, 2 chapters from the end…and I’m frustrated, which clogs me up even more.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    http://writebackwards.we3dements.com

  9. I never heard for freewriting. I usually have no trouble sitting down in writing nonstop. My problem is in sitting down in the first place.

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