Freewriting Rules

A freewrite is sort of what it sounds like: the practice of writing freely and with no controlling goals or expected outcome. There are timed freewrites, where you write for a specified amount of time, and focused freewrites, where you begin with a more narrow topic. While freewrites are deliberately unstructured, they are something you must commit yourself to. Here are some rules that can make freewriting easier:

  1. Keep your hand moving the whole time. Don’t pause to reread the line you have just written. That’s stalling and trying to control what you’re saying.
  2. Don’t cross out and especially don’t erase. That’s editing, not writing. Even if you write something you didn’t mean to write, leave it.
  3. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, or grammar. Don’t even care about staying within the margins or lines on the page.
  4. Lose control. Don’t think. Don’t get logical.
  5. Go for the jugular. If something comes up in your writing that is scary or unexpected or vulnerable, don’t be afraid of it. It probably has lots of energy.

These rules are adapted from Natalie Goldberg in her book Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within.