Free writing is a form of journaling that is done speedily with the idea of not allowing time for self-censoring or editing. Here are the basics:
- Decide whether you’re going to write free-hand or using a computer. Most people advise writing free-hand because of the unique qualities of hand-writing; however, I say choose whatever you’re most comfortable with. Experiment if you’re unsure.
- Choose when you’re going to free write about a particular topic or whether you’re just going to let yourself write about whatever comes up. You might choose a particular topic when you’re free writing as a way to express an emotion.
- If you choose, set a timer for your free writing. I recommend starting with 3-5 minutes: go shorter and you may not give yourself time to get into the good stuff, go longer and you might find yourself running out of steam or feeling too pressured. Again, you can experiment with this as well.
- Start writing. Go quickly and aim for stream-of-consciousness rather than considered prose. If you can’t think of what to write, write that (e.g., “I have no idea what to write”) and see what comes next. Pay no heed to:
- Spelling / typos
- Incomplete thoughts
- Other aspects of writing form
- If you are trying to process an emotion, allow yourself to embody that emotion fully while you’re writing. Don’t push it away.
- When the timer elapses, or when you intuitively feel you’ve gone long enough, reflect on what you’ve written.
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