Typewriter - How Freewriting Helps to Writer’s Block
Creative Writing, Writing

How Does Freewriting Help to Writer’s Block

What is freewriting and how does freewriting help to overcome writer’s block?

The answer to what is freewriting is quite obvious. It is what the words say it is, writing free without rules in your mind, without judging yourself, and just allowing ideas and thoughts to pop out of your mind.

Sounds easy and simple. Doesn’t it? And it is.

Freewriting was actually one of the main exercises I did repeatedly when I started taking creative writing classes. You must start writing and keep on writing. Even if what you end up writing is all these thoughts that walk around in your head and what you think of them is they are garbage. You still have to write them down. 

Rule number one for freewriting is that there are no rules in what you write. You just keep on writing and writing as if your life depends on how much you write without ever stopping to read what you are writing about or to think about it.

Typewriter - How Freewriting Helps to Writer’s Block

The worst thing a person can do when he wants to start practicing freewriting is to sit in front of a computer or a blank page and think about what to write about. It really does not matter.

You will be impressed with yourself when you realize how much inspiration is hidden inside you. How many raw ideas are there just waiting for you to identify them?

Freewriting is a raw form of writing. This practice aims to help you identify your thoughts and patterns that for some reason exist inside your head. Some of those thoughts are interesting thoughts which when you pay attention to them can become something meaningful and beautiful.

Although I have already mentioned some general staff there are some steps that could be followed when practicing freewriting.

Related: Introduction to Creative Writing – Benefits of Writing?

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Freewriting Steps

1. Use a Prompt to Start Writing

Find sentences of questions that you are going to answer and use them as a starting point to put you into the mood of writing. To some people, it might seem weird to just sit down and start writing whatever comes to mind. In these cases, writing prompts could be extremely helpful.

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2. Do not Judge Your Writing

Free-writing is free from rules, grammar rules, spelling rules, and even logic rules. You do not aim to produce something meaningful that makes sense. What you mean to do is to produce writing work. Freewriting work. Full of mistakes and out of logic.

You shouldn’t care. Not while you are writing. Do not structure, format, or correct while writing.

Laptop - How Freewriting Helps to Writer’s Block

3. Set a Limit

Usually, people set time limits on this one and when someone is a beginner it is ok to set a low time limit of 5-10 minutes tops. Just start writing whatever comes into your mind without thinking about it. Even if there is nothing you can think of, write “I cannot think of anything to write”. The goal is to keep writing.

Another limit that could also be set is a page limit. Let’s say you decide to write without stopping for 1-2 or even 3 pages. However, setting a page limit could be distracting from writing, especially if you write on a computer. You will probably be tempted to check where you are in the process of writing which will distract you from the process itself.

These are just some general steps that most people use when they feel the need to practice free writing. But how does freewriting help to overcome writer’s block?

“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all”

Charles Bukowski, The Last Night of the Earth Poems

Related: 6 Great Tips to Use Storytelling in Blog Posts

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How Does Freewriting Help to Overcome Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is this awful thing that most writers suffer from time to time. It is this lack of inspiration when nothing interesting comes to mind and nothing can be found that seems tempting enough to start writing.

Even if you are not a writer yourself you have probably seen movies where a writer sits in front of a blank page of a computer and just struggles to find the first word to start his work with. 

“There is always, of course, that terrible three weeks, or a month, which you have to get through when you are trying to get started on a book. There is no agony like it. You sit in a room, biting pencils, looking at a typewriter, walking about, or casting yourself down on a sofa, feeling you want to cry your head off . . . .”

Agatha Christie, Agatha Christie: An Autobiography

Well, yes it happens and it is not a good feeling. You feel kind of useless and empty. So, how does freewriting help to overcome writer’s block?

These are my suggestions just to put you back in the mood for writing.

1. Look for Inspiration

I know you might be questioning the purpose of this post by this prompt but the truth is that inspiration is everywhere. Open a book or a magazine and read a sentence, whichever sentence. Find a word in it that seems interesting. What do you think of it?

You can even call a friend and have a random conversation but decide that you will keep one word out of this talk and use it as your inspiration for free writing. Go for a walk and listen to the conversation of some strangers. Keep a sentence in mind and use it.

Even if none of the above suggestions work just start writing about how difficult it is to find something meaningful to write about. Write about how useless and without purpose you feel.

“Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and inspiration will find you.”

H. Jackson Brown Jr.

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2. Set an Alarm for 10 Minutes and Start Writing

Using as a prompt the word, sentence, or thoughts from step 1 start writing without stopping for 10 minutes. You might rather use your computer but in this case, I would suggest you turn off your monitor so as you will not get distracted by what you write, how you write, etc. Personally, I would grab a pen and a notebook and start writing all my thoughts.

Do not stop writing no matter what. As I mentioned above, no judgment, no corrections, no editing. Just writing.

HandWriting - How Freewriting Helps to Writer’s Block

3. Believe in Yourself and the Process

When I first started using freewriting as a technique to unlock the writer’s block it felt a bit stupid and I was usually tempted to stop. And this is why it was not working. Because I kept on thinking and judging the process while I was doing it. It made no sense. 

When I talked about it with people using this technique for years they told me that there is no point doing it if I don’t believe in it. If I do not have the faith that something good will come out of it.

So, do believe in the process of freewriting, believe that you will find the inspiration missing, believe that your writing can become better using this technique. Have faith in yourself and the process.

“Every day, writing. No matter how bad. Something will come.”

Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

4. Do not Stop Writing

No matter how silly you may think some of the things you write are just don’t stop. Don’t stop to fix what is written wrong. Allow your inner editor to fall asleep and he can wake up later on. We won’t need his help for now.

If you stop to think about what you are writing your inspiration will be gone. After all, what you might finally decide to keep out of this process might be just some interesting sentences that can be food for thought for something bigger.

5. Have no Standards or Expectations

What you write during the process of freewriting is raw material. It does not mean anything and you should not expect it to be anything more than that. Do not let your expectations or your doubts destroy the process of what you are doing while freewriting.

Freewriting is part of the creative process, not the final material. it is the first step of your job, not the final outcome, just keep going, just keep writing.

“There is no such thing as good writing, only good rewriting.”

Robert Graves

Related: Tips That Will Help You Get a Good Writing Flow

Final Thoughts on How Does Freewriting Help to Writer’s Block

Freewriting is a useful technique that can be used to reveal hidden thoughts, desires, and emotions. As a technique is most often used by people who want to practice their writing skills and get into the mood or habit of writing.

However, the effect this technique has to release much more interesting ideas and thoughts could prove extremely useful to writers who go through writer’s block.

A writer free from his anxiety and fears could start creating raw material in which he could identify sentences and ideas that can eventually become a new project. Thus, freewriting helps to writer’s block in a meaningful and constructive way.

50 thoughts on “How Does Freewriting Help to Writer’s Block”

  1. Freewriting helps me to get out of my head and just get writing. I usually set a timer for ten minutes and usually when the time runs out, I’m in the groove and ready to continue.

    All the best, Michelle (michellesclutterbox.com)

  2. Great! Freewriting is an exercise of writing without stopping or editing for a fixed amount of time. The main idea of freewriting is to find a helpful way of dealing with the chaotic thought processes inhibiting clear thinking while trying to transcribe our thoughts

  3. I enjoyed reading this article.
    This is something I would like to have a go at but I’d probably edit it as I go along!

  4. Good job Eri. I write freely on a daily basis by publishing blog posts and usually, a guest post, here and there. I write until I am done. No breaks. Editing comes next. Freewriting gives you confidence. Versus stopping to pick apart your work you let words flow and become at peace with your first draft and overall writing style.


  5. free writing helps me if I am not feeling it or blocked but not every time. Sometimes just gong away and coming back another time helps too. Great article 🙂

    1. Definitely agree with you Martin. Sometimes taking a break is all we need to change our batteries. Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  6. Thank you for writing this! And I agree that freewriting can be an excellent tool on helping to “cure” writers block. I like how you walk through the steps of free writing, such as giving tips on setting structure and time limits as well as writing prompts to help get the inspiration & ideas flowing. I have done free writing in the past but lately I haven’t. And this post makes me think that it is something that I should start doing more of

    1. I am glad you enjoyed it and found it helpful Helen. It is great to know it inspired you to start doing it more. Thank you for your wonderful comment 😊

  7. I’m taking a creative nonfiction writing class and we end every class with a prompt to freewrite about for 5-10 minutes. At first I hated because I couldn’t even think of how to begin. I’ve grown to really enjoy it, though, and it is very helpful like you explain in this post. Great article!

    1. I am really glad you liked my post Paul and you enjoy your creative writing class! Freewriting can become a process you truly enjoy once you give it a proper chance. Thank you for commenting 🙂

  8. Great post! I guess freewriting is similar to journaling in that regard, those times where you just need to write and vent and get whatever it is that’s pent up out on paper! I can imagine it’s a great technical for when you have writers block x

  9. Free writing is so helpful, even when I don’t have writers block. sometimes it’s nice to simply write and not have huge expectations. A few bits I have done free writing have turned into full-blown story ideas. These are great tips to get the most of out free writing.

    1. I am glad you enjoyed it Sarah. I do agree that freewriting can be helpful even if you don’t have a writer’s block. Thank you for commenting!

  10. I love free writing personally. It usually ends up a mess of words but sometimes, just sometimes, I can make something out of it. Either way it’s a great way to get out some ideas onto the page.

  11. I love freewriting! A lot of my best blog posts come from this method. It helps me to just let it flow and not overthink everything, which is a horrible habit of mine. Thank you for sharing!

    1. I am glad I introduced you to freewriting Eleanor. I hope you enjoy using it. Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  12. This was such a helpful read! I’ve been struggling with the worst dose of writers block recently and I think freewriting will really help. I have used a few prompts which has been helpful too but now I want to give just writing whatever comes to mind a go! Thank you so much for sharing.

  13. Thank you for pointing out that freewriting is not about planning or thinking about what to write! Freewriting is about writing; freely and wildly and without stopping. Translate a stream of consciousness to letter and see what arises from it; while the pages you fill might not be worth sharing as they are, there is always a thread of an idea that can be picked up and worked upon. 🙂

    1. Exactly Jaya. Lots of people confuse the first draft with freewriting. They are totally different things although a freewriting piece could evole to a first really rough draft at some point. Thank you for commenting!

  14. i love using the technique of freewriting to help break writers block. i used to write in journals a lot when i was a teen – and i try to do this more even now when I am lacking in topics or ideas. it really sparks the creativity. thanks for sharing!

  15. Thank you so much for sharing this! I feel like free-writing is very similar to journaling, it’s free flow and that’s something I love. I’ll defiantly be putting these tips to good use when I feel like I’m stuck with my writing Xo

    Elle – ellegracedeveson.com

  16. I used free writing when I started my blog. I had, and still have, so many ideas. But when I sit down to write, sometimes the thoughts just don’t flow to the page. I decided to have a page that I go to and just write. It’s a brain dump not meant to make sense in any way. I use it as a way to clear the pipes so I can get things moving. At first, it’s hard to ignore your inner editor and allow misspelled words to remain on the page, but after some practice you move past that. This is a great method for writers to employ as a practice in writing or even as away of working through other thoughts & feelings.

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