Freewriting: A Great Writing Tool (Part Two)

freewriting part 2

By Troy Headrick

About a week ago, I wrote (and published) “Freewriting:  A Great Writing Tool (Part One.”  Today, I’m ready to follow up with part two.

Lots of people commented on the first installment.  For example, deelib68 asked, “Is freewriting meant to be read afterwards?  I did it once and it was very stream of consciousness.  I did not look at it again.  Would there be value in reading it?”  That’s a very good question, by the way.  Freewriting, as I explained in part one, happens very quickly and is almost certainly going to be unstructured and jumbled, exactly the way deelib68 described it.  Despite these facts, there is certainly value in looking carefully at a piece of freewriting once it’s done.  Let me show you why.

The following chunk of language is a piece of freewriting I wrote an hour or so before I began this blog:

Ok, so I’m going to write another piece on freewriting.  I sort of know what I want to say in my follow up to the first blog but I’m not perfectly certain.  That’s ok though.  I’m not going to let my uncertainty worry me.  Uncertainty should never worry us.  I say that even though I feel worried about my uncertainty now.  I guess I’m trying to have it both ways.  Is uncertainty something to be concernewd about or not?  That is the question.  I guess uncertainty is the way we all live our lives all the time.  How much are we really ever truly certain about?  I mean 100 percent certain about?  Maybe I’m just a weirdo but I seem to be uncertain a lot of the time.  I think I’ve sort of gotten away from my original subject.  What was my original subject?  Does it matter?  Does anything really matter?  What matters?  I guess being uncertain matters because its our deep wise part telling us to tread lightly to be wary, to keep our eyes open….

So I timed myself when I was doing this freewriting and it took me exactly three minutes.  It probably would have been easier if I had done it by hand, but I used my keyboard instead.

So, after finishing, I went back and reread it.  As you can see, it looks like the sort of language deelib68 described so well.  But the longer I looked at it, the more I noticed something interesting.  I spent a lot of time writing about uncertainty.  And I even asked an interesting question:  “How much are we really ever truly certain about?” and I finished by saying, “I guess being uncertain matters because it’s our deep wise part telling us to tread lightly, to be wary, to keep our eyes open.”

I think, by using the tool called freewriting, I found a topic (uncertainty) that could (perhaps) become a future blog.  I had no idea that I was thinking these thoughts about this subject or that it was occupying my mind to this extent.  Freewriting is a bit like opening the floodgates and watching what pours out.  In this case, I very clearly appear to have a lot to say about uncertainty—even though I was not aware of this fact until I opened my mind and imagination.  What poured out were some cool ideas.  In the process, I think I actually hit upon a profound truth:  We do seem to spend a lot of our lives in a state of uncertainty.  And this could very well be because being uncertain about things is a kind of technique we use to protect ourselves.  That’s pure speculation, but it’s something I need to think about.  If, after ruminating on all this, these ideas pan out and seem to be worth pursuing, they could give birth to an interesting blog.

This whole blog was a way of demonstrating how freewriting works, what it looks like, and how it can help us discover things about ourselves and our thinking that are both surprising and fruitful.

What are your thoughts about this experiment?  I look forward to hearing your responses!

Troy Headrick’s personal blog can be found at Thinking Boy:  Blog & Art.

18 thoughts on “Freewriting: A Great Writing Tool (Part Two)

    1. Thanks for the comment and I’m glad it finally appeared. The brilliant thing about freewriting is that it takes the pressure off writers because it happens fast and de-emphasizes spelling and punctuation and such. The freewriter’s mind is free to relax and make discoveries as a result (and as you saw in the example I included in my piece). I’ll have a look at your blog now and am looking forward to it!

  1. I will sometimes start writing a blog post and one page later, realize that it isn’t about what I thought it was. The kernal of truth that has stuck with me is really something else. I delete the first page and start with the real issue. I think that it’s really like free-writing. You write what’s on the front of your mind, and eventually, you get to the fertile back-40.

    1. Hi. Thanks for the comment. So it seems that you’ve sort of been doing a version of freewriting for quite some time. I sometimes think that it’s a bit arbitrary to try to outline or plan out a piece of writing launching into it. That’s because writing is really an act of discovery. We don’t know what’s going to happen until it does happen. That makes writing very exciting because there’s always the element of surprise. I really appreciate you sharing your story. By the way, post a link to your blog here so I (and others) can check it out.

    1. Good morning. You sound like a writing instructor? Is that true? Do you mind if I ask what you do for a living? Also, thank you so much for your comment.

  2. Great experiment. It comes across as a form of meditation, that helps you get to the root of what’s on your mind. We all need to let go once in a while, and allow ourselves the option of letting it all hang out so we can really see core issues. It doesn’t matter that where you started isn’t where you end. What matters is that you open up and clear out the musty brain bits.

    1. Hi and thanks for the wonderful comment! I hadn’t thought of freewriting as a “form of meditation” but I think you’re absolutely right and you’ve opened my mind to the possibility. Yes, we have so few opportunities in this life to let it “all hang out” as you’ve said. Freewriting let’s us do that intellectually and emotionally. I really appreciate your continued participation in reading, thinking about, and commenting on my blogs.

      1. You’re (again) most welcome. You bring something to the mental meal table that I really enjoy, and get to think hard about. You write well, you make valid points, and you obviously read your comments… All part of the WP community feeling. In short, I like what you’ve been doing. 🙂

  3. Using this tool since I’ve seen first part of this post and I must say it works like a charm. Rather then polishing the thoughts in the mind, which generally disrupts their genuineness, putting that all on paper gives way to more possibilities.

    Liking this and surely, thank you for bringing this to me.

    1. You are very welcome and I’m glad to hear that you are familiar with freewriting and have found it helpful. Take care and thanks for reading and leaving a comment!

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