Rediscovering Freewriting

Due to the many demands on my time, my approach to my writing is generally pretty regimented. I schedule writing sessions throughout the week and have a prioritised list of all the writing tasks I want to complete during each one. I have a spreadsheet of all my past, present and planned publication submissions and competition entries, and another that tracks the number of days I write and how many words I achieve across several categories.

This is great for my productivity, ensuring I always know when my next writing sessions will be, what I will be working on, and that my progress will be accurately tracked. But, while I know from past experience that the best way to get writing done is to sit down and do it, such an ordered mindset can stifle creativity.

All writers know the benefits of a long walk, or a meditation session, or just getting on with something else and letting the subconscious have a turn. And writing without really thinking about it, and without a clear plan in mind, can lead you to some unexpected and fascinating places.

So, when I spotted a freewriting meetup starting in London, I went along – and it was great!

The lovely Claire led the session, giving us a prompt and then setting us loose on the page for five minutes of freewriting. We mostly wrote about pens – why we chose the one we chose out of the selection presented to us, and then more specifically about the pen itself. Then we swapped pens and wrote about the new one we were passed. Each of us read out our pieces at the end of each five minute writing slot, and it was amazing the range of thoughts and images that were produced. My contemplation of my various pens took me to some introspective places, both humorous and dark.

I’m not intending to use any of those pieces for another project. They existed in that moment and I’m glad to let them go. They reminded me of the joy of simply writing, going wherever my mind takes me, and not worrying about form, function, content or purpose.

I will definitely be going back to No Grammar Required when I can, and I very much look forward to more random exercises in brain splurging with Claire and the other members.


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