Free writing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Free writing is a prewriting technique in which a person writes continuously for a set period of time without regard to spelling, grammar, or topic. It produces raw, often unusable material, but helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and self-criticism. It is used mainly by prose writers and writing teachers.[1][2] Some writers use the technique to collect initial thoughts and ideas on a topic, often as a preliminary to formal writing. Free writing is not the same as automatic writing.

Unlike brainstorming where ideas are simply listed, in freewriting one writes sentences to form a paragraph about whatever comes to mind.

History[edit]

Dorothea Brande was an early proponent of freewriting. In her book Becoming a Writer (1934), she advises readers to sit and write for 30 minutes every morning, as fast as they can.

Peter Elbow advanced freewriting in his book Writing Without Teachers (1975), and it has been popularized by Julia Cameron through her book The Artist's Way (1992).

Technique[edit]

The technique involves continuous writing, usually for a predetermined period of time (often five to fifteen minutes). The writer writes without regard to spelling, grammar, etc., and makes no corrections. If the writer reaches a point where they can't think of anything to write, they write that they can't think of anything, until they find another line of thought. The writer freely strays off topic, letting thoughts lead where they may. At times, a writer may also do a focused freewrite, letting a chosen topic structure their thoughts. Expanding from this topic, the thoughts may stray to make connections and create more abstract views on the topic. This technique helps a writer explore a particular subject before putting ideas into a more basic context.

Freewriting is often done on a daily basis as a part of the writer's daily routine. Also, students in many writing courses are assigned to do such daily writing exercises.

Definition[edit]

Free writing is based on a presumption that, while everybody has something to say and the ability to say it, the mental wellspring may be blocked by apathy, self-criticism, resentment, anxiety about deadlines, fear of failure or censure, or other forms of resistance. The accepted rules of free-writing enable a writer to build up enough momentum to blast past blocks into uninhibited flow, the concept outlined by writing teachers such as Louise Dunlap, Peter Elbow, and Natalie Goldberg.[3]

Free-writing is all about loosening and limbering the thought process, not about a product or a performance for a student or a writer.[4][5]

Use in education[edit]

Often free-writing workshops focus on self-expression, and are sometimes even used in teaching to elementary school children. There is no common consensus on the acceptance of this technique.[6]

Rules[edit]

Here are the essential rules that are often formulated for the beginners or students, often a paraphrase of Natalie Goldberg's "Rules for Free Writing," [7][8] often referred as Natalie Goldberg's first four rules of writing:[9][10]

  • Give yourself a time limit. Write for one or ten or twenty minutes, and then stop.
  • Keep your hand moving until the time is up. Do not pause to stare into space or to read what you've written. Write quickly but not in a hurry.
  • Pay no attention to grammar, spelling, punctuation, neatness, or style. Nobody else needs to read what you produce here. The correctness and quality of what you write do not matter; the act of writing does.
  • If you get off the topic or run out of ideas, keep writing anyway. If necessary, write nonsense or whatever comes into your head, or simply scribble: anything to keep the hand moving.
  • If you feel bored or uncomfortable as you're writing, ask yourself what's bothering you and write about that.
  • When the time is up, look over what you've written, and mark passages that contain ideas or phrases that might be worth keeping or elaborating on in a subsequent free-writing session.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Getting Started: Freewriting". Grammar.ccc.commnet.edu. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ Cole, A.L. (2001). "The Thesis Journey: Travelling with Charley". Brock Education 13 (1): 1–13. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  4. ^ Robinson, L. (1967). Guided writing and free writing. 
  5. ^ Ross, J.; Robinson, Lois (1967). "Guided Writing and Free Writing: A Textbook in Composition for English as a Second Language". TESOL Quarterly (TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 2) 1 (2): 58–60. doi:10.2307/3585756. JSTOR 3585756. 
  6. ^ Klingman, A. (1985). "Free Writing: Evaluation of a Preventive Program with Elementary School Children.". Journal of School Psychology 23 (2): 167–75. doi:10.1016/0022-4405(85)90007-X. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  7. ^ Goldberg, N. (1986). Writing down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within.. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  8. ^ Goldberg, N. (1990). Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life. Bantam Dell Pub Group. 
  9. ^ Miller, M.M. "The Spice of Writing: Extracurricular Projects for Technical Writers". IPCC 92 Santa Fe. Crossing Frontiers. Conference Record. pp. 384–390. doi:10.1109/IPCC.1992.673061. ISBN 0-7803-0788-7. 
  10. ^ Upitis, R.; Smithrim, K. (1998). "Teacher development and elementary arts education" (– Scholar search). B. Roberts. Archived from the original on December 7, 2004. Retrieved 2008-04-26.  [dead link]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]