GW: Free Writing – Don’t Become the Jailor of Your Ideas

This post is written by a guest writer.

Have you ever heard of free writing? For all those writers around, this is probably not something unfamiliar, but it can be used for so much more than simply in the writing field. For starters, free writing is when you set a period of time for yourself, like 30 minutes for example, and you start writing whatever pops into your mind without worrying about punctuation at all. The idea is that all your thoughts on a certain topic will appear either on your paper or on your computer file. Surely, they will probably be revealed in a complete chaos but then you will also have figured out a variety of viewpoints you can take on a different subject. So many angles that are ready to be explored.

This kind of stream of consciousness can be incredibly useful if you are looking for what the plot for your next short story would be, or what stand you would like to take in your essay, or it can be something entirely different than that. For instance, how to become more confident about yourself. You can just sit for 15 minutes and write all the possible reasons that make you feel insecure or uncertain and then after the time is up, you can reflect on your thoughts and consider the best strategies to improve on what you think pulls you back.

However, to get back to the writing field. As already mentioned, free writing is an extremely powerful tool when it comes to the depth and origin of the main idea you want to adopt in your piece. If you decide you want to develop on your world for instance, you know what your goal is before you even start writing. Then you grab a pen and a notebook or just open a Word file and then you have got the next 15 minutes to ramble on about your world, how it looks like, what’s its story, etc. The more you write, the more focused you become so your attention becomes concentrated on how to answer the questions that your mind keeps on coming up with.

In addition, it could help you a lot with dealing with obstacles such as a writer’s block or plot holes. By sitting down and noting down everything that pops into your mind, you are making yourself relaxed and for those 15 minutes you don’t have to worry about how you are going to overcome the obstacle at hand at all. It is just you, your pen and the piece of paper in front of you.

To be more specific, my personal way of accommodating this tool in my writing is by doing free writing from a character’s point of view. Let’s say I have a protagonist and I have some idea of the way I’d like to develop them. Anyway, in my stories it’s usually the characters that define the ending of the story and to get to the ending I need to get to know them better. To explore their motives and beliefs. And here comes free writing. I just decide I’m going to imagine that I am one of the characters and then consider the kind of voice they usually have and start writing from a first person point of view. It might seem ridiculous to you at first, but it has helped me get a story finished a lot of times now. If it’s for a longer project, it works even better as I get to know my character’s backstory more easily so I am more aware of how they would react in a number of critical situations. However, you have to be extremely careful not to mix more than one individual’s views and thoughts into one, though. You don’t want your characters to sound the same way.

Hence comes the next step – deciding which of the ideas you have noted down are relevant and which you just have to abandon. After they have landed on the paper, it is crucial that you filter them out. It’s quite common that when a person freewrites, regardless of the topic, certain unrelated thoughts might occur which is normal. This is how the human mind operates usually. You’re thinking about one thing and then all of a sudden you’re making a reference to something else, and that something associates with a whole other thing and then without knowing it, you are already heading towards another topic, another goal. Nevertheless, don’t let that scare you at all. You have to be the decision maker and to take into account which ideas are actually suitable to what you need and which ones are irrelevant.

Therefore, we come to the last stage. How can you incorporate what you had freewritten in your actual work? This one is entirely up to you. If some ideas have shaped into your mind but you are still uncertain of how to develop them, you can brainstorm so you get even more specific. If you have already found the missing piece of information you have needed, then just decide where it would fit the most and how you could make your story evolve more around it. Either way, you will already have gained some details that could be useful in the long run.

To conclude, free writing is definitely one of my favourite techniques as it releases all of that tension on your mind for a while and lets you sink into your own thoughts. You never really know what kind of an ingenious idea will come to the surface without you expecting it to be there in the first place. I strongly recommend it and advise you to add it to your list of strategies of dealing with obstacles (if you already haven’t of course). You have got nothing to lose but so much to gain. Your thoughts and ideas might be yours to possess but without letting them out, they would never reach their full potential. They will be the prisoners of your mind.

Elvira Dimitrova

I'm Elvira Dimitrova and writing is one of my real passions. My current moto is to keep writing as much as I can every day. A friend of mine said, "Don't wait for inspiration to come to you." So that's what I am trying to do - make the inspiration come by writing. If you want to check my pieces, you can find me on, where I write on a variety of topics; on my Facebook page "Brainstorming with Elvira" and on Instagram @elvira.dimitrova1. I look forward to getting to know you all!