As mentioned in the previous post, freewriting is a way to arrange our minds, come up with ideas, or make decisions by putting our thoughts down rapidly on paper. Let’s focus on how to further hone your freewriting skills: disconnect and abandon old ideas when new ones emerge.
In principle, disconnecting is simple but you should try to do it actively. Seek to find a lesson before moving on when you dismiss a theory or trash a thought but, whatever you do, keep writing. Write on why and how you gave up the idea.
You’ll find that it’s when you ditch ideas that don’t develop that freewriting starts to pay off.
This brings us to the point of producing all this material. An abundance of ideas is better than a single one. Focusing on finding a perfect idea can actually be counterproductive because you demand too much of yourself too early.
You should really bring that into effect. Try freewriting sessions where a hundred solutions for a question come up. Take a couple of days to do it and do it in more than one session. The ideas can be boring, fanciful, or just plain dumb-it ‘s a game of numbers that will stop you from getting frustrated at not having the perfect idea right away.
All your life you’ve been told that lying is bad, but that isn’t true with freewriting. Lying is a good way of exploring ideas. Think of it as playing make-believe on a piece of paper.
In freewriting, lying means breaking with reality. You can explore situations which might seem silly or even absurd on initial reflection. But by doing so, you can actively channel your freewriting sessions in new and fecund directions, ending up in unexpected places.
When you’re trapped in reality, your responses are limited. Lying is a fantastic way to bolster your freewriting efforts. Let’s think of an easy way to start lying.
Say you’re writing about something “small.” Instead, think of it as “tiny” or “gigantic.” If it’s “important,” make it “crucial” or “ordinary.” If it’s “boring,” rebrand it as “pathetic” or “super exciting.” Repeat the technique as much as you need!
Another way to boost freewriting is to imagine fictitious conversations.
Create a roster of actual or fictional characters to pose basic questions to you. They are there to get you excited to respond. Characters which hold completely different points of view are especially useful. That’s going to really test your thought processes. Or maybe you could address a “future you,” and imagine how that person might be different. That’s also a good way to stimulate ideas.
But you shouldn’t create characters who are too abstract, like God or Buddha. Characters who are too wise and successful, like Steve Jobs or Abraham Lincoln, aren’t great either. You might feel a bit insecure expressing yourself to them!
Your character should be clear and vivid rather than historical or too abstract. A best friend or a teacher you admired in school should work well.
Freewriting sessions are something intimate. Using them to analyze your feelings, and check your processes. They ‘re perfect for exploring new ideas and solutions. Sharing the results, though, is good too.
If you circulate your writing, you can benefit from feedback. This will, in turn, help you organize your ideas all the better. A close friend or colleague is probably the best source of constructive feedback.
She should be willing and have the time to read your writing. You should be clear about the kind of feedback you expect from her, too. You could prompt her with questions like “what works?”, “what doesn’t?”, “is it too much?” or “is something missing?”
Another way to get yourself inspired and motivated in freewriting is to compile stories from your daily life. Everyday experience can easily become rich prose, particularly when you are short of content. Hold your eyes open and write what you see free of charge.
Begin by doing it just for a day. A short episode can be worked up in just a few minutes. After that, set aside whole sessions for these stories. Almost every event has a lesson in it. Look at it this way. If a story arouses your curiosity, it’ll probably engage other audiences too.
Finally, if you’re stuck on complex problems, longer freewriting sessions can be helpful.
Short five- to 20-minute sessions can work great. But if deep and involved thinking is required, or if you’re gathering material for a book, you could opt for freewriting marathons.
Over several hours you can amass tons of fantastic material, but a little bit of strategy is important.
Long sessions of freewriting can comprise many smaller spells. Then, instead of taking a break, freewrite for 20 minutes, re-read your notes and flag what seems interesting. Delve back in right, and try another 20 minutes. Repeat. You ‘re going to be doing a freewriting marathon before you know it.
Have you ever considered writing a book? The principles and techniques used in freewriting may be of great assistance. You will be able to thrash out fantastic brainstorming sessions and solve any challenges you face, along with your biggest ideas you will also generate tons of publishable content brimming with them.
For this, you’ll need to archive your freewriting. File away those golden nuggets with an inventory! Freewriting isn’t just a way to clarify your thoughts; you can also use the results for further research. It’s essential therefore to keep records of all your freewriting sessions. You never know when they can be revised and provide you with solutions in the future.
A good filing technique is critical for this exercise. Your inventory should have themes like “business,” “writing techniques,” “sales,” or “love stories,” depending on what you like to write. You can use these tidbits as the foundations for further work or as prompts for new freewriting sessions. You can even recycle them by adding them to later writing.
At its best, freewriting can also produce a nutrient-rich culture for finished prose, whether for a book, a master’s thesis or a dissertation. If it’s polished prose you’re after, start with a few warm-up freewriting sessions. The topic itself isn’t important.
Once you’re all warmed up, freewrite with a little more focus. You might have to aim for marathons rather than sessions.
Simultaneously, try to build up your archive. Cut, rephrase and tweak the material. Keep things relaxed and limber, then start to link ideas together with transitions and new passages. Edit again and again, and before too long, you’ll have completed the manuscript!
It’s clear freewriting can solve simple day-to-day problems. But with a bit of effort, the method can be adapted for more complex material. You might even get a book out of it. The most important thing? Keep on writing.
Last but not least, consider changing processes in your writing. When a few freewriting sessions are complete, focus on your writing. You will refocus by asking new questions about yourself. It could lead you down an entirely different path.Start a fresh session and go from there.
Check out my related post: Should you focus on your strengths as advised by Strengths Finder?