What Is Freewriting? 6 Steps to Unlocking Your Creativity

If you have been lacking creativity in your writing and your work, freewriting might be a technique that gets you back on track.

You might have wondered what is freewriting, how it works, and how you can use it to unlock new levels of creativity in your brain.

The main idea behind freewriting is that you have all of this creativity hiding behind your conscious brain. Our conscious brains can be a mental bully, telling you that your ideas are silly or that what you have to say is not interesting, so freewriting is a technique that moves your conscious brain out of the way so you can tap into your inner creativity and flow.

We so often want the writing to be perfect, we never focus on getting started. If you relate to that, freewriting might be perfect for you.

We will go through all of the above so you can use this helpful practice to bring some creativity back to your writing.

What is Freewriting?

Freewriting was made popular by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way. It is also a great book for writers and creatives, so definitely add it to your reading list. However, many writers have mentioned using freewriting and it has been a popular practice for a long time.

The idea behind freewriting is that you have all these smart, brilliant ideas and creative thoughts behind your conscious mind that is always getting in the way.

Your mind can get in the way, stress you out, give you imposter syndrome, or think other self-limiting beliefs.

When you freewrite, you let your thoughts flow. You tap into your subconscious by letting words flow out of you like a stream-of-consciousness and let whatever comes to you come out through your pen.

Why Freewriting Helps Creativity

As opposed to mind maps or brainstorming, where you are trying to format your thoughts into something useable, the point of freewriting is to not focus on structure or form and just let everything flow out of your brain at once.

You sit down, set a timer, and keep writing no matter what, even if the words don’t make sense.

For most of us writers, when we are expanding on our thoughts, we are also thinking about sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, and more.

With freewriting, it might seem counterintuitive, but you want to forget all of the writing rules you know and just let the ideas flow out of you. It doesn’t matter if it’s just one word over and over or full, brilliant thoughts.

You do not need to stay on a set topic or cover a particular theme, only do so if it feels right.

Freewriting also helps so much for breaking past writer’s block. Simply putting words on a page again can help you break past whatever you are currently stuck with.

If you are someone who struggles with not only writer’s block, but being overly self-critical or has anxiety about writing, freewriting can be a way to help you stop censoring yourself and to let the ideas flow.

How to Freewrite

The main way to practice freewriting is to start writing and keep writing, no matter what thoughts or ideas come to your mind. You just let them flow out of your mind and through your writing tools.

Before you get started, you will want to block off at least 30 minutes in your calendar. You will also want to pick your tools of choice, whether it is paper or a computer.

How to Practice Freewriting

Let’s go over how you can start freewriting and start using this incredible practice.

#1 – Pick your writing tools

It will be up to you if you want to type for your freewriting exercise or if you want to write by hand.

Writing by hand can be the preferred method because you are creating a kind of mind / body connection to the pen, but not everyone works like that.

You could try both methods to see which one is better for getting you into a flow state.

#2 – Start writing

More than anything, you do not want to start overthinking your writing process. The goal of this is to start writing for a set amount of time and to not stop.

You want to put pen to paper and start to just write about anything on your mind. Even if it’s “I don’t know what to write” just keep writing that over and over until some kind of different thought comes to you.

You can even repeat the same word over and over if you can’t think of something to write, but you must not stop. The whole point is to keep letting the ideas flow and flow and flow for the set amount of time.

#3 – Take a break

After you write for five straight minutes, you should take a break. Read through everything you’ve written and think about it for a bit.

Then, repeat the cycle of writing for five minutes and taking a break two more times.

You might want to try a variety of times to see if some work better for you than others. For example, maybe you write for ten straight minutes instead of five.

#4 – Do not be upset with that you write

Keep in mind the first few freewriting sessions might be terrible. They might be frustrating, hard, and you might hate everything you write.

It will take some time to break past that initial struggle and you can always throw your first few attempts away, but you need to keep going in order to see the benefit.

#5 – Stick with it

A lot of what you write at first is going to be logical thinking and “regular” thoughts such as things you have to do or the weather. The real magic comes when you keep going and start to break past those initial thoughts.

Many people say they can’t see results until they start doing it for a few days or after a few weeks. The most important part is that you keep going and doing the practice.

It can also help to keep your freewriting exercises because you might see similar themes and ideas when you look back on what you have written.

Keep in mind, you can choose to burn or throw away your freewriting exercises if you are nervous about someone reading it and want the peace of mind of having it all to yourself. There is generally no right way or wrong way to do these things.

You will see the best results if you do freewriting every day, but any time you do it is better than not doing it at all.

#6 – Use freewriting for certain topics

Once you get the habit and the general idea down, you can use freewriting to focus on certain topics or explore things you feel stuck with.

If you are writing a book, this might be the time for you to freewrite what could happen in the next chapter.

Having an idea might also help you get started if you truly get stuck with your freewriting, but do what works best for you.

Once you get better at freewriting, you will love the freedom that comes with letting their thoughts completely flow without judgment.

What to do next

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