What Is a Free Write?

Free writing is automatic, uninterrupted, associative writing - essentially, write for a set amount of time without lifting your pen and see what happens.  Knots are loosened; barriers fall down.  Words come out that you might have otherwise not expected and unconscious thoughts rise to the surface. 

The timed-writing technique is used by many writers and teachers to get the creative juices flowing and find inspiration.  Often we are surprised by our own ideas when we banish the inner editor or the inner critic and allow ourselves to just write, freely.

In the Mythical Writing Workshop we open with a 5-minute free write on an image relating to the evening's theme.  (You can read some great examples from Tabitha Silver here and here.)  When time is up, everyone shares - without comment, without criticism or feedback, only to hear our own voices and the voices of others. 

After sharing, discussion, and a myth related to the theme, we end each workshop with another free write.  As a group we make a list of the words and phrases that stood out to us during the evening, and we each choose one as the title for a longer 10-minute free write.  You can read some examples here and here.  We post the free-writes on the site with little or no editing, to keep intact the flow of ideas and the unfolding creative process. 

We are looking to expand the ways we use free-writing and other techniques to engage with the Space for Breath community.  At our Author's Reading at Word Up Community Bookshop we had our audience participate in an impromptu free write on the theme "Urban Magic" (read Therese Sibon's response here).

Look forward to more free-writing at our upcoming SfB events - and remember, we are always open to suggestions and submissions from our readers!