Caitlin here. I’ve found some of my best “stuff” comes from free writing sessions, those times when I just let my fingers run wild on the keyboard. I don’t sit down with a scene or story in mind. I don’t have any goals beyond “keep typing for X minutes.” Those times are sometimes the most fun I have writing because there is absolutely no pressure. Just write! It’s okay if the page is filled with utterly useless crap!
That said, it’s one of those things, like meditating, that I know is good for me but that I rarely make time for. Why spend ten minutes sitting quietly and concentrating on the hum of the air conditioner when I could be doing something productive? Why free write for ten minutes when I could use that ten minutes to make progress on a novel or a story? I should move the ball forward, so to speak. But, when I don’t take the time to just splash around in writing, through exercises or free writing, I think the lack of creativity in my actual writing shows.
So, I’m wondering. Do you think free writing is worthwhile? If so, how do you motivate yourself to do it?Karlie: I'm forced to confess that I usually don't free write. Most of this is because I have limited time to write, and usually spend my time on a working manuscript - but I've never really benefited from it the times I did try it. However, I usually have three or four projects going at one time, so I jump from one to the other. It helps keep my brain fresh and ready to go. Sometimes I'll flesh out a new idea - just write about the plot for two or three pages. That's my version of free writing. :)
Lisa: I used to free write more often, but it's been so long. And I'm talking about years. I guess I haven't done it in so long because I'm a bit like you, Caitlin; it feels like a luxury - not a necessity - and my writing time is too tight to dwindle on luxuries. However, the times that I do recall freewriting, it was to get over the hump of a difficult plot point or stubborn writer's block. And it worked. Though I haven't free wrote in a really long time, I do know that it's an valid option for getting writers out of a bind or get creative juices flowing. I should do it more often, though. I think I will try to get back into the habit of it every once in a while. Thanks for the reminder about how nice and unburdening freewriting be, Caitlin.