How to Eliminate Writer’s Block with Freewriting

woman in orange shirt looking at laptop, her hands on the sides of her head

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We’ve all been there. 

Our fingers freeze above the keyboard. The pen stops scribbling, seemingly of its own accord. The cursor blinks, taunting us.

Maybe we don’t know what happens next in the story. Maybe we feel overwhelmed at how much revision the draft needs, so we avoid opening the document altogether. Maybe we’re frustrated, confused, or just plain bored.

Whether you want to call it writer’s block, losing your mojo, or a creative speed-bump—feeling like you can’t keep writing can really, really suck.

There are a multitude of strategies for busting through blocks, but freewriting might be the simplest of them all. 

Free your pen, free your mind

The concept of freewriting is very straightforward: Set a timer for five to ten minutes and write—typically longhand, with pen and paper—without stopping or worrying about mechanics, grammar, or quality of writing. 

Try to keep your pen moving until the timer goes off, even if all you can write is “I don’t know what to write.” Just keep going.

Freewriting is not a new concept. William Butler Yeats, Dorothea Brande, and Jack Kerouac all used freewriting in one form or another. Natalie Goldberg and Julia Cameron both advocate for freewriting as an important developmental practice for writers and artists alike.

The goal is not to produce “good” writing; rather, the ultimate goal of freewriting is to free up your mind to put words on the page, stretch your imagination, and get the creative juices flowing.

Here are 10 different ways you can use freewriting to overcome writer’s block.

Continue reading How to Eliminate Writer’s Block with Freewriting

5 Easy Ways to Write More While Traveling

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As a writer, I love to travel.

I differentiate this travel-love from the spark of wanderlust most everyone carries—this travel-love is about getting inspired, stealing tidbits from experiences I never would have had otherwise, and slipping them between pages in a story.

I’m a bit of a creeper, to be honest.

I’ll eavesdrop on conversations in coffee shops, even if I don’t understand the language, just to get a sense of the rhythm of emotional exchange. I’ll watch the local woman haggle for a better price on oranges while her kids weave around her varicose legs. I’ll write down every detail I can soak in—from the smell of the trees that only grow on this island, to the shape of the clouds over the sun at noon, to the insults drivers shout at one another in rush-hour traffic.

This is a kind of travel-love I think a lot of writers share.

But traveling for writers comes with its own share of challenges. How do we maintain our practice while on the road? How do we keep a routine when the very nature of travel disrupts the routines we spent so much time and energy cultivating?

And how do we maintain a balance between experiencing the place we’re in and holding space for our work?

It may sound crazy, but I find I’m often more productive while on vacation. This is because I know I’ll have a limited amount of time, and so I go in with a plan that is realistic for me to execute but still leaves space for what I want to accomplish.

Here are 5 things to think about as you get ready for your writing/traveling adventure so you can write more while still enjoying your vacation. Continue reading 5 Easy Ways to Write More While Traveling

How To Turn Distraction Into Your Best Writing Session Ever

I am a writer.

I also have ADD.

But I suspect this experience is not entirely unfamiliar to other writers:

I’m working on a story, and then—BAM—I’m hit with a brilliant idea for another project, or a scene for later on in the piece, or a detail I want to make sure to include somewhere, etc.

The problem?

I either get so absorbed in the new idea that I completely lose focus on what I was working on, or I tell myself I’ll remember the new idea (but never, ever do).

Worse still, I sometimes try to maintain focus on both at the same time, trying to remember the new idea while still working on the original piece, rendering both efforts frustratingly inaccessible and mediocre.

My hands already cramp up trying to keep up with the speed of my thoughts; now I’m trying to hold onto an idea (or more than one!) while also pursuing a separate thread of attention. It’s simply not possible.

Writing on its own is hard enough—and research reflects this.

Continue reading How To Turn Distraction Into Your Best Writing Session Ever