Free Writing and Avoiding Commitment

Free write

How do I brainstorm? When I first started thinking about this question, the answer was simple: I don’t. End of blog post. Great work, me!

Just kidding. But it is true  that I very rarely sit down with the explicit task of brainstorming or planning in mind. I like to start composing right from the beginning of my writing process: I don’t  outline or do very much pre-writing. I just do my best to put words down on the page. However, what I write at first often doesn’t make it into the final draft of my essay or story. I am the type of person who will compose five fairly well-written pages, go back to the beginning, delete three of those pages and start a completely new draft with whatever is left. What I do is actually an extended form of free-writing.  I come up with ideas to write about by actually writing. What I am writing out in these extended free writes is the preliminary thoughts that will shape my essay, translated from the random thoughts in my head as well as possible. Just because they are written out doesn’t mean they are set in stone. Instead, it’s a way for me to get in the groove of writing and not force my writing to be perfect from the beginning.

For some people, the thought of actually writing something lengthy and then throwing it away is a scary task. However, I think that to be a successful writer, you can’t be too attached to what you write in the first place. Writing take SO MUCH practice. Most of the time when you start out, what you write won’t be as good as when you have been doing it for a while. This applies to when you first start writing in general as well as when you are starting a new writing task. If you allow yourself the freedom to take things out and write things over, you may find that you won’t be as anxious about writing. You can always go back and change it, so just get something down. Free writing can help to create a sense of freedom in your writing. If you avoid committing to every word you write, you always allow yourself room to improve.


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