Freewriting – a method for unblocking creativity

Freewriting is a personal creativity technique that is particularly useful when you have hit a mental roadblock.  You simply write the challenge or topic at the top of a large piece of paper and then start writing.  You can write anything related to the topic.  Here are the rules of freewriting as given by Natalie Goldberg: 

  • Give yourself a time limit. Write for ten minutes say, and then stop.
  • Keep your hand moving until the time is up.  Do not pause to stare into space or to read what you’ve written. Write quickly but not in a hurry.
  • Pay no attention to grammar, spelling, punctuation, neatness, or style. Nobody else needs to read what you produce here. The correctness and quality of what you write do not matter; the act of writing does.
  • If you get off the topic or run out of ideas, keep writing anyway. If necessary, write nonsense or whatever comes into your head, or simply scribble anything to keep the hand moving.
  • If you feel bored or uncomfortable as you’re writing, ask yourself what’s bothering you and write about that.
  • When the time is up, look over what you’ve written, and mark passages that contain ideas or phrases that might be worth keeping or elaborating on in a subsequent free-writing session.  

The idea is that the process overcomes apathy, fear, hesitation and other blocks to creation and action.  Once you have reached your time limit, read over what you have written and circle any points of interest.  You can use these as starting points for action, for brainstorming or for further freewriting.  Although this is designed as an individual activity it can be done in groups with people sharing the key points after an agreed time.  Once again the most important thing is that everyone keeps writing.

Paul Sloane

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