When you set yourself writing targets, things can begin very well. You may find that you can go on for a long time in the beginning, frequently creating new poems or stories, but at some point you will meet the dreaded (perhaps, the inevitable) … block. What was once so easy now seems impossible, and you feel as though you are out of ideas. Will you ever write again?
Okay, so I’m being over dramatic. But it can be tough to come up with new things to write about. This month, we are looking at techniques writers can use to help us generate our own original ideas. We have previously discussed thought showers – today, we are going to examine free writing.
Free writing is exactly what it sounds like. It does not need a predetermined plot, a list of characters or theme. You simply pick up a pen and grab a piece of paper and start writing (or open your Word processor and begin typing if you prefer to work on a computer). Try to give yourself a set amount of time or a word count and don’t stop until you have reached this goal. It doesn’t matter what you find yourself writing about.
Free writing is a useful exercise for writers who feel ‘stuck’ for ideas because it encourages you to write about whatever is on your mind at the time and thus helps to teach you to think outside of the box. You do not have to make anything that you write public, but you may discover that there are some ideas within your free writing that you can use or adapt.
It is not always easy to free write, especially if you are not used to it. You might find yourself hesitating as you try to think about what to write next – but the point of free writing is that you should not stop. Focus on your thoughts and, once you have some practice under your belt, you might find it extremely helpful. Free writing is a skill as much as everyday writing.
The ideas you can come up with as you write freely will not all be worthy of turning into stories, poems, or whatever else you wish to write. However, free writing is not only useful to think up new ideas: if you are able to get through the thoughts that are currently occupying your mind, then you will hopefully find yourself able to return to your regular writing again.
This month’s theme is IDEAS. If you have written something that you would like me to share on this blog on the theme of original ideas, then please post a link in the comments or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: Ideas.