free writing

I haven’t done much free writing lately. You know, the kind where you sit down and just…write. Where there’s no editing. Whatever comes out of the pen is what is staying on the page. And I think, though without much free writing experience lately, it is easier to do longhand and on paper than on a computer. Writing on a computer is just too easy. It’s too easy to hit the backspace button and pretend those words didn’t exist. It’s too easy to edit.

And I think that’s what surprised me: how it easy it was for the words to just come out across the page. I started off with the goal of writing about where I was writing. And that lasted about the first page, or rather the first half a page, before I delved into a whole other topic (or topics, rather, as one flowed into another). The only editing was scratching out a misspelled word or a change in wording, but no more than one or two scratches.

Free writing does a couple of things. One, it allows you to write without listening to that inner editor, the one that criticizes every word and space you might type. Two, it provides brilliant insight into what’s going on in your head. And three…it provides help with what you might be working on. There were some thoughts I wrote down that while I may not use them just yet, they were exactly what I wanted to say elsewhere in my story.

I’m looking forward to setting aside another block of time and taking pen to paper and see what ideas come forth. There is a short story I would like to work on, only the story is not yet quite clear in my head. I’d like to see if the sort of free association that comes from free writing might help with that. And if anything, I don’t think it’s a bad habit to get into. Will my writing be stronger because of it? Right now it’s too early to tell, but I do aim to find out.


Patricia returned to Texas after spending several years on both coasts. She's a writer, amateur photographer and traveler.

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