What Is Free Writing?

Have you ever had a lot on your mind, to where it seemed like your thoughts were going a mile a minute? Perhaps you were stressed or anxious, and worried about something that happened in the past or could happen in the future. When our thoughts take hold of us, it can feel as though we’re drowning beneath the surface, unable to see where it stops. Other times, it seems that so many thoughts and feelings are present, but we can’t quite place a finger on them – holistic practices such as writing can be extremely beneficial for releasing these thoughts and giving you some space to just breathe. Peter Elbow, a professor, author, and researcher, described the writing process as this: The consequence [of writing] is that you must start by writing the wrong meanings in the wrong words; but keep writing until you get to the right meanings in the right words. Only in the end will you know what you are saying.”

There are so many different ways to write, but free writing is completely open. Nothing is on the paper telling you what to do – you simply write. Some consider this type of writing journaling, because it’s the process of you writing down whatever comes to mind. The sentences you create may or may not flow well together, and they may or may not always make sense. Since there is so much that can go on in our mind at once, it’s hard to get everything down – that’s why you take what you can and move forward from there.

Medium suggests a number of good reasons why free writing can be beneficial, especially in the morning:

  • It helps you resolve any residual issues that may have occurred the day before, so that you can take on a whole new, positive perspective for the day

  • It allows you to explore your thoughts so that you can identify any underdeveloped ideas that you’ve had

  • By writing about your thoughts and experiences, you may gain new insight – which can reel in more focus and clarity for your work

Free writing is an excellent option if you’re wanting to get everything out of your mind and onto paper. You can even think of it metaphorically – once it’s on paper, it’s no longer a hindrance to your mind.

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