Freewriting is an important tool every writer should use. There are many benefits to this simple exercise, which involves simply sitting down and letting the words flow onto paper or your computer screen. You can use it in a number of different ways.
--Start your day with a freewrite. This will knock the rust off that part of your brain that gets the ideas flowing. If you are the type of writer who agonizes over the first few minutes of writing because the words struggle to emerge, a freewrite could take you past that step. Whether you're writing the first draft of a novel, a short story, poetry, or whatever, this could help you get out of the daily gate smoother.
--Kick start a project with a freewrite. If you're ready to move onto your next project, but you're not sure what it is, sit down and freewrite. Set an amount of time to write, and let the words flow. Don't think about what you're writing, and don't actively search for ideas. Once you've finished your allotted writing time, read over what you wrote. Most often, some sort of idea will be staring right back at you. Many times you'll get more than one, and you'll have plenty of ideas for future projects, as well.
--Use freewriting to flesh out your ideas. You may have a killer idea you know that'll make a great story, but you don't yet have all the details. Think about that idea, sit down, and freewrite. As always, don't let your conscious mind get in the way. Just let your pen or keyboard fingers do the talking. When you're done, read over what you wrote. You might not get everything you want out of a single session, but you should be well on your way.
--Writer's Block be gone! Freewriting is an excellent way to push past difficult parts of your work in progress. You may know what you want to do in your story, but the exact process might be a bit fuzzy. Does your protagonist fight or give in to flight? Freewrite out the possibilities and see what you like best. Or, if you haven't started something yet, and that dreaded blank page is staring at you, freewrite. Don't worry about coming up with ideas, just let your subconscious work through the fear that you'll never write again. A good freewriting session could be all you need!
These are some ideas of how to use freewriting to your benefit. I'm sure you have other ways in which freewriting has helped you. If so, feel free to leave these ideas as a comment. Until next time, keep reading and/or writing!