About Freewriting

My blog is a living memoir and throughout I have posts categorized as “freewriting”. What is freewriting? It’s when you sit down with a blank page (or a new document from the word processor of your choice) and write for a length of time about anything without paying attention to the nuts and bolts of effective writing. It’s like a seed planted in haste – it may sprout or it may not. Freewriting is about priming the pump of your mind and seeing what you dredge up.

For me, freewriting is easier if I have a prompt to get me started. Prompts can be anything. For example, look around the room you’re in, pick something hanging on the wall or sitting in the garbage can or on the shelf, and start writing. What comes to mind?

Perhaps the time you bought the item? Or the reason you bought the item? Maybe the person who gave you the item?


Now, take ten minutes and just write about something related to the item.

When you’re finished, you’ve either got something to spur you on to more writing, or filler for the circular file.

I wish the idea were mine. Instead I offer you the latest offering for writers from Natalie Goldberg titled Old Friend from Far Away. She applies the unattributable concept of freewriting to the practice of writing memoir. Here’s a short excerpt:

Memoir gives you the ability to plop down like the puddle that forms and spreads from the shattering of a glass of milk on the kitchen floor. You watch how the broken glass gleams from the electric light overhead. The form of memoir has leisure to examine all this.

Memoir is not a declaration of the American success story, one undeviating road, the conquering of one mountaintop after another. The puddle began in downfall. The milk didn’t get to the mouth. Whatever your life, it is urging you to record it – to embrace the crumbs with the cake. It’s why so many of us want to write memoir. We know the particulars, but what really went on? We want the emotional truths under the surface that drove our life.

So let’s pick up the pen, and kick some ass. Write down who you were, who you are, and what you remember.

Nearly all the freewriting exercises posted on my blog come as a result of prompts from Goldberg’s book. I hope you enjoy them, and I hope that, if you love to write and would like to tell the world your story, you’ll take the time to read her book. It’s not for everyone, but it may be just what you need.

Happy reading and joyous writing!


6 thoughts on “About Freewriting

  1. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. Your site is great! I love the creativity with freewriting. So unexpected. I’m going to have to check out Natalie’s book now.

  2. Please, do so. The book is amazing. But pace yourself. It’s not meant to be read in one sitting. You need to do the work and digest her suggestions.

    Enjoy your pug!!!


  3. Thanks for the comment on my blog. I agree with you about the book…. if I can now find time to get back to it! I love the way you have set up your blog. A few years ago I began a memoir project connecting recipes to memories of family and friends. The blog has gone in many directions. I will be back to enjoy your words.

  4. The recipe idea is a very cool one. Goldberg mentions the connection between food and our memories in her book. Run with it! Best to you, and thanks for stopping by.

  5. Interesting concept. I’ve often found that if I’m really wound up about something, freewriting helps me work out why. The words fly out of my fingers and onto the page, and somewhere along the line my brain gets involved and everything starts to make a little more sense. Then I usually have to go back and correct the spelling.

  6. Yeah. Freewriting has a way of revealing things that may be brewing under the surface of our thoughts. I know that I stew on many topics throughout the day, but none of it takes shape until I get into into print.

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. I appreciate the support.


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