Freestyle Writing Helps Writer's Block

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 15, 2006 | Go to article overview

Freestyle Writing Helps Writer's Block


Byline: Diane Dassow

Kay Cahill, a reader from Roselle, said she has given some thought to her intended audience for her written memoirs. They are her children and grandchildren.

She has also wondered what they would like to know, and has drawn a blank.

"Unless they ask specific questions, I cannot know what parts of my life story they would like to know about," she said, "so I just share it all."

Sharing it all certainly means she will never run out of topics to write about. But such a broad range of topics also can choke the best of writers.

Random thoughts, along with a blank piece of paper or a blank computer screen, can scare anyone into the phenomenon known as writer's block.

Here's a tip - the act of writing makes it easier. Start with something easy, or even nonsensical. The act of scratching the pen across the paper - or of fingers tapping on the keyboard - loosens us up to write more easily.

The technique is known as freestyle writing. Let yourself write for a specific length of time - 10 minutes, 20 minutes or an hour, for example. Set a timer and start small, you can work your way up. Don't worry about what you are writing or what you will do with what you are writing.

Write in sentences, without erasing or crossing out. Keep your pen moving or your fingers on the keyboard.

If you can't think of what to say next, repeat what you already said. The idea is to keep writing. Your mind and memory eventually will jump to a new image. The momentum this gives your writing keeps your mind active.

Consider this writing a rough draft. Don't edit or correct yourself, and don't worry about spelling or grammar. …

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