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Freewriting: A Strategy That Will
Bring Your Writing To Life
By Catherine Franz
Freewriting is a
release from the prison of rules. It allows the fastest and deepest
improvements to a writerís creative process. Freewriting shows writers how to
overcome past resistance challenges. Either in writing, control, or other
fears. It returns the power of free thought. It also renews the energy flow
with the universal laws of attraction.
Let me recommend that for this writing exercise you use pen and paper. This way you can accomplish it anywhere -- on a metro, waiting for the plane to take off, before a meeting starts or when you are waiting for someone. Laptops take time to boot up, a precious time when memory can become an endangered species.
This process is easy to remember, easy to complete, yet needs pushing to start. The exercise only requires that you write fast for 10 minutes. The goal is to let go of control or any other block. Give your supraconscious, subconscious, and conscious permission to let anything roll out.
Topic doesn't matter. Even if you start with monkeys, run through the grocery or chore list, and finish up starting the first chapter of a novel that you didn't know you wanted to write. You might even start and end on just one topic. Allow and know all is perfect, no matter what appears.
This stream of conscious writing has few goals except to write nonstop during the 10 minutes. Writing well, how fast is fast for that particular writing, paragraph division, spelling, grammar, or anything else doesn't matter. Just keep the pen moving. If you can't remember a personís name or place, leave a blank, e.g., "______." Return later and insert. If your mind goes blank, begin the next sentence using the last one or two words from the previous sentence.
Let me make two suggestions. First, you will want to remember to breathe normally through the exercise. It isn't uncommon to hold your breath or breathe very shallow during the exercise. Actually, breath reduction is a common occurrence during any type of timed writing. Breathing controls the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain. Less oxygen, less clear thinking, and yes, less creativity and poorer expression.
Second, please be careful not to let this exercise fall into the category of journaling -- personal writing -- in other words, all about you. If you are trying to move away from journaling into other types of writing, or product production, you will want to give up journaling for a short time in order to allow the new process to take hold. Not forever mind you, just a little while, while you learn to open your writing to a higher level of purpose and possibility. The freewriting exercise is one of the best ways to transition to another style of writing.
If you prefer your freewriting exercise to have more focus, you can begin with a concentrated statement. I do suggest that you allow yourself to become comfortable with unfocused freewriting before exploring concentrated freewriting. This transition usually doesn't take long. Maybe a month or two, if completing this exercise as frequently as once a day.
When beginning with a focus, write a question or statement at the top of the page. Give yourself a minute or two to reread the focus, let it swirl around in your mind, and then begin writing. Still you don't want to control the freedom. This means that if the topic begins to go south, give your writing the girth that it needs to do so. If the thoughts stop, you can easily reread the statement or question to trigger the flow again. If you find that you repeat yourself after a stop/trigger/start, let this occur as well. You will find that the repeat usually adds clarity.
A personal preference of mine is to keep my freewriting exercise in a subject notebook. I write "FREEWRITE" on the cover. Previously, when I used single sheets, they became something else I needed to organize. The stack grew. I wanted to toss them out but just couldn't for some reason. The compromise was the notebook.
In the inside front cover, I wrote my contact information, just in case I left it someplace. I number each page before I start to write in the notebook. I also start a reverse (from the back page inwards) table of contents, labeled TOC1, TOC2, etc. in the upper corner. When I begin to start my freewriting exercise, I record the date in the large margin at the top, along with a circled 1. Meaning that is page 1 for that dateís freewrite. Then continue the process with circle 2, etc.
Later, if I feel the material is ready to blossom, I type, usually rewriting at the same time. Afterwards, I mark those pages with a light slash corner to corner and write "typed" in the top margin. After printing I sometimes, but don't always remember, staple a copy to the page. I do so in a manner whereas I can still read my original writing. Sometimes after I finish my freewriting, and it isn't ready to be typed, it could be ready to outline. Since I'm a trainer in Mindmaping (clustering), I might also outline in the notebook.
Usually, I have no idea what is going to appear. It usually takes more than one 10-minute freewrite to get to whatever wants to shine. Since I purposely wake up three hours early every morning to devote to my writing, there is more than one segment available for the sun to appear.
Scattered throughout my day I like to add a 10-minute freewriting session. After a coaching call, reading, or watching television. TV programs like, "The Associate" trigger ideas and thoughts, but nothing concrete, and with the freewriting exercise I can pull out what is gnawing at my gut.
The best part of having my exercises in a notebook is being able to reread and see my progress. Seeing the changes in my style, language, and creativity is enough push for me to keep completing the exercise day after day. Even years after completing this exercise, I'm still delighted with the progress I'm seeing. Occasionally, I'm shocked with, "I wrote that." Those are warm fuzzies all writerís need, including me.
Allowing is a major principle under the Laws of Attraction. Here are the 10 gifts that freewriting provides within the principle of the Law of Allowing:
1. Allows the use of good time management skills.
2. Allows less negative energy expenditure for worry or doubt and increases positive energy for creative allowance.
3. Allows separation between the production process and the revising process.
4. Allows dancing around the inner critic.
5. Allows the writer to be in the present moment.
6. Allows the focus to transition from the result to the process, thus reducing the pressure to produce.
7. Allows the mind and heart to melt together into unprecedented language.
8. Allows a virgin flow of creativity to materialize.
9. Allows current emotion to manifest in the writing. 10. Allows a connection between your knowledge and the universal knowledge field.
Catherine Franz, a Professional Marketing & Writing Coach, specializes in product development, Internet writing and marketing, nonfiction, training. Newsletters and articles available at: http://www.abundancecenter.com blog: http://abundance.blogs.com.
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