Writing Exercise – Free Writing

in other wordsStructure is good, structure is our friend. Structure can nobble the fickle cruelties of our nemesis: Writers’ block.

Yet structure can be limiting.

Free writing is the opposite of structured writing. It is, quite literally, free from all the traditional rules you think you know about writing, such as plot, character profiling, logical dialogue scenes.

It’s not automatic writing, you want to remain conscious while consciously refusing to limit yourself as you write, consciously refusing to stop, to re-read, to craft and drive functional, effective writing.

Ironically, there are rules in free writing too.

From a positive, supportive perspective, you must

  • Always keep going for the allotted time
  • Ignore all spelling, grammar or editing thoughts while you write
  • Let any and all words tumble out onto the paper, even made up words
  • Try not to think, let alone think too hard

Or, if you prefer a dictatorial approach:

  • Absolutely do not stop once you’ve started, only stop until the time is up
  • Never, ever, ever edit, correct spelling or grammar.
  • Do not tinker with what you have written – ie: no editing!
  • Get the words down regardless of what comes out of the pen/keyboard.
  • Do not engage brain!


The frequency is up to you, however some advise indulging each day. It is important to set a time for you to work to.

If this is a new method, start small with a few minutes and work your way up. Like everything else, practise makes perfect.

The subject matter is down to your brain – not you. If you don’t know what to write, write that you don’t know what to write and let the words come as they choose afterwards.

I once tried to write a 150 word tale about my mother for a competition. It was clunky, hard to start and clouded in dark mists which I couldn’t see a way through. So I started free writing. Granted, it needed people to read it three times before they understood it, but it was placed third out of 45 other competitors. Sometimes, free writing can produce work you never thought you could create.



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