Free Flow Writing
Students of any age can have difficulty when starting a writing assignment.
One of the major complaints I hear (every day almost) is that they just don’t know how to get started.
This is where free flow writing can come in handy.
Once you know your topic, which might have been given to you by your teacher or generated by yourself, spend 3 to 5 minutes on free flow writing.
Start with a blank page or computer screen.
Set your timer.
Write without stopping for the set time.
Write about whatever flashes through your amazing mind on the topic.
Do not worry about grammar or spelling or any other technicalities.
This part of the process should be “free” and should “flow” – hence the name free flow writing!
The goal is to get some volume of information that you can work with later.
In other words, all the judgement, criticism, and corrections will come later in the process.
The reason you want to set a time and write without stopping is to keep you from blocking yourself.
You might have had the following experience yourself.
You have no problem telling your friend, parent, or sibling about a trip, a book you read, or a movie. However, when it comes time to write about it, you can’t even get the first sentence.
For free flow writing, write as is you were explaining to your friend. I often tell students to literally imagine themselves describing the topic to someone. This practice opens up the floodgates. You can do this by yourself, with someone for real, or record yourself.
Yes some dross might get through, but you can clean that up later.
Once you have something written down, you have something to work with. This is far more important than you might imagine. You can save a lot of time and a lot of grief by using this method.
I know this will help if you practise it.
After the 3 to 5 minutes, once you have the roughed out pieces, you can become your own critic – eliminating the bad bits, cleaning up the good bits, and generally moving forward.
Let me know how you make out on your next writing assignment.
Watch the video for more on free flow writing and the comparison to brainstorming.
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Video: Free Flow Writing