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How Freewriting Can Help Beat Writer’s Block

Writing is not easy. It doesn’t matter how long you have spent meticulously planning your writing project, writer’s block can strike at any time.

By Christia HuntingtonPublished 2 months ago 3 min read

I’m here to share how a simple 10 minute freewriting exercise may help you move forward and past writer’s block so you can continue to write.

What is Writer’s Block?

Blogging, writing an email, journalistic articles: the aim is to convey a message to the reader in a way they understand and can digest. Communicating a message in any form of writing requires not only clear communication, but evidence of an extensive understanding of ayour subject area.

Writer’s block is like a traffic jam. You’re driving your car. You know your destination, you know your route, you’re even familiar with all the sights you’ll see along the way. But you’re stuck, unable to move forward with your journey. The traffic piles up behind you. You check your rear view mirror and there’s a mile long queue of cars also heading in your direction.

Now imagine you are the driver. Your car is a representation of your thoughts, spilling onto the paper as you drive down the road. Your tyres to the tarmac are the ink to the paper. The cars behind you are ideas, feelings, emotions, and anything else you’d like to convey through writing. You can see and feel it all, but you can’t progress. You’re stuck. That is writer’s block.

What Is Freewriting?

Freewriting is a stream-of-consciousness writing method where you write continuously for a set amount of time (usually 10 minutes), without regard to grammar, spelling, topic, or overall coherence. It doesn’t matter what you write, it’s simply an exercise to stimulate your brain to allow a free-low of words onto the paper. When you feel that your writing has stagnated, freewriting can help you to unlock ideas and emotions which are hiding deep within your brain.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Freewriting

1. Set a timer

Set a timer for 10 minutes on your phone. 10 minutes is the perfect amount of time for a freewriting exercise; it’s long enough to encourage some brain activity, but not long enough that the writing will become tedious. The time limit provides some structure so you remain free from distractions.

2. Choose the right environment

Choose an environment that is conducive to your productivity. If you work well in a coffee shop, do it there. If you write better in silence at your desk, write there instead. Your environment should encourage your thoughts to flow freely.

3. Start writing

Once the timer starts, begin writing. Some will recommend that you begin writing about anything at all, such as the dream you had last night. However, I prefer to write about something related to my project.

For example if I experience writer’s blocks when I’m writing a blog post about how to make money from side hustles, I could set a timer for 10 minutes and write about a side hustle I’ll try in the future. It might not make the final cut into the article, but it’ll get those creative juices flowing.

4. Ignore the rules

Forget about grammar, spelling, and punctuation. This exercise is not about creating a masterpiece; it’s about finding the writer hiding somewhere in your brain.

5. Keep going until the timer stops

Do not pause to correct or read what you’ve written. The goal is to keep your pen moving or your fingers typing until the timer goes off.

6. Read what you’ve written

Read over your writing. Reflect on what you’ve said. Have you wrote anything you now want to expand on in your initial writing project? Has it made you consider something you hadn’t thought of previously? Could you even include this piece of freewriting in your original project?

Freewriting Prompts

Now you understand what freewriting is and how to freewrite, here are some prompts you can use the next time you experience writer’s block.

“When did I first start writing about [your topic]? What drew me to this subject initially?” — Reflect on your journey that led you to this point, exploring your initial interest and passion for the topic.

“What are the aspects of [your topic] I have yet to explore or fully understand?” — Consider what areas of your topic you’ve possibly overlooked or intentionally avoided, and why.

“What is the one thing I want my audience to remember after reading my work?” — This prompt helps you focus on the core message of your writing to ensure that your work communicates what you deem most important.

Do you have any tips and tricks from overcoming writer’s block?

Stream of ConsciousnessWriting ExerciseWriter's BlockProcessAdvice

About the Creator

Christia Huntington

Hi, I’m Christia, a self proclaimed self-love expert.

I'm a freelance writer and an appearance psychology PhD researcher.

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