Have you ever heard of free writing? That’s when you just let all heck loose at your sheet of paper or computer screen, without caring about grammar, where your writing is even going, or anything. Most people would call that either drafting (writing your first draft) or pantsing (writing your book without outlining and plotting it) But this is slightly different.
Just personally, I always correct my grammar as I write. Maybe that’s because my mom was a stickler for grammar when she was teaching me (while I didn’t like it at the time, it is a good thing for me to have now) but I don’t really free write.
When I would pants my writing, I still would correct my grammar, take my sweet lil’ time, and wander aimlessly through a world that only existed inside my head, but was missing really huge pieces because I never did worldbuilding.
I still hate having to world build, if you’re wondering.
When you draft your writing, you throw everything at your screen and zoom along through your writing. However, I am 99.999999% sure that drafting is when you actually know where you’re going, which is usually due to outlining or plotting beforehand.
We writers can get swept away in the whole plotting, world-building, and constructing of the perfect novel. We desperately want to be the next J.K. Rowling! And she spent a couple years plotting her books!
THAT’S INTENSE COMPETITION.
One of the main reasons writers don’t want to outline their books is because they’re afraid that it’ll box them in. They want to let their creativity flow as they go, not… trickle. During the outlining process.
We want to continue writing, and we love writing. And when we’re stuck in the realm of building our realm (aka world-building and plotting) we sometimes just need to be able to let loose without rhyme or reason.
That’s where free writing comes in.
I have a Creative Writing class this year, and I look forward to it every week. We start the class by taking a prompt and writing for ten minutes on it. We can share it with the class and then move on to the actual learning part.
Or is it not learning?
We learn more about writing and what we like to do with our writing every time we write. This prompt and the short space of time gives me a small time to try to write a story. I love having endings to what I write, and I have to find one to the prompt within the space of ten minutes.
I get my first look at the prompt and then have to write something for it for ten minutes. That’s literally it.
But there’s something awesome about this.
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This free writing gives me a chance to just relax and remember why I love to write. To take a character and slap a personality on them and throw in a dash of trouble that I can solve in the next few minutes. To come up with an ending and know exactly where I’m headed, or else to not at all.
There is no time for perfectionism, grammar, or outlining.
There’s only enough time to get to know the characters enough to give them an ending, and then leave them there.
I don’t have to moon over them for hours or brainstorm things for them to do for days on end.
It’s a 10-minute long relationship. If they suck, whatever. They aren’t my problem.
I love doing this because I can come up with so many random things if I’m not picking the prompt. Hearing what other people thought up, it’s incredible, because we all have the same prompt, yet come up with so many different things.
My stories are usually pretty outlandish, or fantastic. There are holes in my reasoning. But I still love doing it.
You should try free writing. It’s nice to just throw words on paper every once and while. It helps remind us why we’re writers, and why we started this full-time job as crazy people in the first place. 😉 Plus, you may come up with some gems. Lines, characters, plot twists… anything could happen in ten minutes.
Do you free write?
Are you going to try it? (You can always download my free 30 writing prompts under the Freebies section in the menu and use some of those! 😉)