I think I am guilty of hypocrisy. Which makes me unhappy, because as a general rule hypocrisy is one of the things I hate most.
The fact is that I’ve been telling clients they need to do something – but I don’t practice what I preach. My only defense is that I don’t do it because I can’t. It doesn’t work for me and no matter how many times I try, I come up with nothing. So since it doesn’t help me, I don’t do it. But I still tell clients that they should.
What am I talking about? Free Writing. I’ll get to the details in a minute.
Most people find the blank page or screen very intimidating, and it’s not just a writer thing. Artists, apparently, have the same problem. My good friend Linda who, amongst her many other talents, teaches art, tells me the blank canvas is just as bad, so she developed her own way of dealing with it in art classes for children; she drove up and down over the blank pages leaving tire tracks behind. (Happy Birthday Linda, by the way)
And that is really the point. It doesn’t matter what sort of mark you make on the page, just that you do something. Whether you’re trying to write a blog post or an article, the same technique can work. You’ve got to break the ‘spell’ – sometimes even a scribble can do it.
But that’s not what Free Writing is. Free Writing is not a tool for gathering or organizing your thoughts. That’s what mind maps and out-liners and talking to someone else is for. Free Writing is a technique where you write for a set time without correction and you write just what comes into your head. If nothing comes into your head then you say so. If necessary, over and over again. Many writing courses (including some I’ve given) suggest you do this every day for ten or even fifteen minutes and of course they say you can’t fail at it, which is what makes the technique so powerful. Let’s have a go.
I think free writing is a waste of time because actually id rather be writing something with some point to it, probably because i get paid to write and time is money. maybe its becasue im not iontrospective enough but this does strike me as a scoollosal waste it is not useful in any way i suppose im feeling abit hungry now in wonder if the postman has come and what are we having for tea tonight its not necessary to keep on one topic that g is lookign a bit funny today and the keyboardn seems a bit sticky I wonder whay.
Note the spelling mistakes. One of the biggest problems many people have with writing is that it can be slow because they need to make frequent corrections. Writing without correction is useful because corrections are interruptions, just like self censorship. Free writing is all about letting go.