How ‘freewriting’ can get you out of writer’s block

Freewriting is a technique which helps all kinds of writers, from copywriters to novelists. Find out what this technique is and how it can help you get out of a creative block. 

What is freewriting?

Freewriting is a style of brainstorming popularised by Peter Elbow and Natalie Goldberg. It is similar to brainstorming, except you have to brainstorm your ideas in full sentences and paragraphs. This makes it look more like a stream of consciousness. 

It also shares traits with ‘morning pages’ which are used in the bestselling artist’s self-help book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. 

What are the benefits of freewriting?

The benefit to a writer is that as humans, we’re natural storytellers. Allowing ourselves to splurge our thoughts onto the page in this form allows us to explore our subconscious and develop our unique voice. 

In addition, freewriting can help you get out of a creative rut. This is because of the nature of the form. You allow yourself to be messy, make mistakes, and write whatever comes into your mind. You give yourself permission to be bad. When you get over yourself and your perfectionism, you’d be surprised what ideas spring to the surface. 

How do I freewrite? 

Step 1: Preparing to freewrite

Make yourself comfortable and make sure you’re using stationery you’re comfortable with. If you’re really not into handwriting, you can also get a Google Doc up and freetype – but, if at all possible, we would encourage handwriting for creative thinking. 

You might want to write whatever you’re thinking about, like in a journal. But if you’re in a block about something specific, it’s helpful to put that topic in your mind and write about it. 

Step 2: Write!

Even if you start out by writing ‘I don’t know what to write. This feels silly’ 10 times in a row, you’re better off writing that than writing nothing at all and watching your blank page. The words will start flowing if you are patient and carefree. 

Step 3: Clean up for clarity 

If you’ve freewritten correctly, you’ll have a page or several pages of whatever was floating around in your head. Now it’s time to organise those ideas. A good way to do this is to group them into themes. For example, if you were freewriting about what to write on your blog, you may want to think about what common themes come up in your blog topics so that you can sort these into key categories. Once you have your key categories, you can ideate more and more topics because the purpose of your blog is more clear. 

Of course, now that you’ve done the messy writing, it’s time for you to transform this into clean content. The best way to do this is (pardon our bias) to run it through the Readable editor. Checking basic spelling and grammar is all well and good, but readability, style and flow issues are harder to catch. Readable makes the process systematic and easy.