inCredible Messages Blog

Overcome Writer’s Block with this Proven Technique #1

Do you struggle with blank page or blank screen syndrome? Are you looking for a way to overcome writer’s block?  If so, try freewriting, a quick and easy technique that’s a favorite of professional writers.

In freewriting, you write whatever comes to mind for approximately 10 minutes.  You write rapidly (even randomly), without worrying about complete sentences, punctuation, or grammar.  Essentially, freewriting is writing to yourself to see what is going on in your mind.  You try not to even think much, let alone criticize yourself.

For example, imagine you want to write a piece to help college freshman make the most of their first year at school.  You could scribble your answer to the following question for 10 minutes:  What did I do well and what do wish I had done differently during my first year of college?

Chances are the first material you get will be rather obvious, and then your mind will go in different directions.  Some things you write may seem random, crazy, and irrelevant.  It doesn’t matter.  And you might run out of things to say before the 10 minutes is up.  That doesn’t matter either.  Just keep your pen or your fingers moving until something comes.  Once you are finished, you’ll have a reasonably clear idea of the main points you want to make.  There’s a magical quality about freewriting.  Order comes out of chaos.

How does freewriting work to overcome writer’s block?  Most writer’s block comes from some manifestation of premature self-criticism or anxiety. Whether we are anxious because we had a bad experience with an English teacher or because we know our writing puts us “out there,” we get locked into the left side of our brains, where criticism runs rampant.  Freewriting works to temporarily silence the left side of the brain and invites the creative, non-linear side of the brain to generate material.  Freewriting helps you access that portion of your brain that sees abstract connections, interesting or funny connections, and more.  It enables you get beyond the paralysis and to get your thoughts out, effectively overcoming writer’s block.  What’s more, when you engage freewriting for a mere 10 minutes, you typically surprise yourself with the amount you have to say about any given topic.

Premature criticism is such a danger to good writing (and good thinking) that professional writers use freewriting to practice holding the criticism back.  They know that can’t generate their best work and criticize it at the same time.  Many professional writers practice freewriting in the same way a pianist practices musical scales.

While you don’t necessarily need to practice freewriting without a project, I suggest you give it a try next time you need to write something—especially if you are experiencing writer’s block.  Invest 10 minutes in freewriting about your project.  Then take a break. Organize your thoughts and write a first draft.  Take another break.  Afterwards, let the critic back out, so that you get the commas and colons right.

Give free writing a try by writing for 10 minutes on one of the following topics:

  • Your dreams and expectations for retirement
  • Advice to someone just entering your profession
  • What every leader should know about motivating people
  • Secrets to success in parenting
  • How your customers or clients can solve a specific problem they face
  • Your definition of success

Freewriting will save you time and frustration while it helps you produce interesting writing.  The 10 minutes you invest will be multiplied.

Posted by Bonnie Budzowski in How to Write Content to Attract Clients, Overcome Procrastination.


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